Visiting Artists and Academics
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The system is costly to both the host organisation and to the visitor, and has already meant a number of cancelled exhibitions and concerts. All non-EU visitors now must apply for a visa in person, and supply biometric data, electronic fingerprint scans and a digital photograph. The Home Offices 158-page guideline document also outlines new controls over visitors day-to-day activity: visitors must show that they have at least 800 pounds of personal savings, which have been held for at least three months prior to the date of their application; the host organisation must keep copies of the visitors passport and their UK Biometric Card, and a history of their contact details; and if the visitor does not turn up to their studio or place of work, or their whereabouts is unknown, the organisation is legally obliged to inform the UK Border Agency.
We, the undersigned, believe that these Home Office restrictions discriminate against our overseas colleagues on the grounds of their nationality and financial resources, and will be particularly detrimental to artists from developing countries, and those with low income. Such restrictions will damage the vital contribution made by global artists and scholars to cultural, intellectual and civic life in the UK.