27 June 2011

Salman Rushdie leads protest of 'intrusive' UK immigration rules

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Author Salman Rushdie and over 100 others from the world of literature and art have criticised the new points-based UK immigration system for non-EU artists looking to come to the UK, describing the new rules as "needlessly bureaucratic and intrusive".

UK immigration

Author Salman Rushdie and over 100 others have called on the government to make new UK immigration allowances for writers and artists.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph about the current UK immigration situation, 120 writers and artists have criticised the points-based visa system as being "inappropriate for short-term visits by artists".

Rushdie was joined by other signatories such as Ruth Padel, Kamila Shamsie, Michael Morpurgo, Anita Sethi and Simon Singh.

They said: "Writers and performers who have long been welcomed by Britain now find that they are required to undergo a visa application process that is needlessly bureaucratic and intrusive.

"Non-European Union artists wishing to enter the country have been treated poorly, either through the application process or at entry points".

They continued: "The 'licensed sponsors' system places a burden on arts organisations, many of which cannot afford the cost or cope with the administrative burden. Nor do they wish to be required (or are in many cases able) to 'monitor' the artists they invite."

The signatories concluded by calling on the government to create a visitor route for artists and entertainers which did not distinguish between those who are and are not receiving payment.

This will enable artists attend their exhibitions, writers to be paid for reading from their works, and musicians to be paid for performing.

"Our great tradition of cultural exchange is being badly damaged through the points-based system, and in the long term we will suffer economically.

"As we approach the Cultural Olympiad's culminating year, this is a situation that must change," the signatories said.


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