04 June 2009

UK work permit problems cause ballet company to face shut down

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A Russian ballet company based in Swansea may have to cease performances because of red-tape problems with the new UK work permit system.

The new UK visa system has been designed to protect jobs for British people during the recession by making it harder for foreign workers to get a temporary UK work permit. Six of the prime dancers for the Ballet Russe – who are Russian nationals – have had their UK work permit applications denied.

The new points-based system requires overseas workers to be sponsored by a licensed employer in order to have their UK work permit approved.  In this case, strict new rules meant that Ballet Russe's top dancers did not have their UK work permit renewed for this year's performances. 

Ballet Russe has not been able to perform since February of this year.  While the company is now being forced to look to local ballet dancers for its performances, it has been based in the UK for 11 years now and is famous for the talent of its Russian ballet dancers.

"We have lost our key dancers - they did not get work permits to come back," Chika Temma, director of Ballet Russe said, as quoted by BBC News.
"Touring is vital for us because we live off box office income. Without our principal dancers we cannot meet our standards - it would be completely different without them."

The Home Office has released a statement in reply to the Ballet Russe's plight, saying that the Border Agency is working hard to maintain the integrity of the UK immigration system and to protect Britain's borders.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

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