The impact of delays in processing Creative Worker visas - Boodle Hatfield

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19 Apr 2023

The impact of delays in processing Creative Worker visas

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Zoe Jacob View profile
2 min read

The Temporary Work - Creative Worker visa was introduced to provide a specific route of entry to the UK for those in the creative industries, coming to the UK for up to 12 months. This includes musicians, actors, dancers and film production staff. The relevant Creative Worker is issued a Certificate of Sponsorship by a UK sponsor, which is then used to support a visa application made outside the UK. Once made, the application should be processed within 3 weeks.

Additionally, there is a specific concession for non-visa nationals (individuals who do not normally require a visa to enter the UK as a visitor). These applicants do not need to make a visa application. They can present their Certificate of Sponsorship to an Entry Clearance Officer at the UK border and, provided the relevant criteria are met, should be granted Entry Clearance as a Creative Worker on this basis.

The problem that applicants currently face is that where a visa is required, these are not being processed within the 3 week service standard. For many, including members of the Ukraine's Khmelnitsky Orchestra, this means that the purpose of the visa is negated. In this case, members of the Orchestra missed several dates of their heavily promoted UK tours because their visas were not approved in time.

Until this issue is resolved by the Home Office, Creative Workers who are ineligible for the concession described above, will need to plan UK travel as far ahead as possible, submitting visa applications well in advance of scheduled engagements in the UK. 

Members of a Ukrainian orchestra were refused UK visas to tour a series of film music concerts, it has been reported. The day before their first concert in the UK, five key members of the Khmelnitsky Orchestra still hadn’t received their UK visas. Two days into the tour, they were told they would have to pay €15,000 for emergency visas, which were not issued in time.

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