Challenge to New Points Based Visa System

On Saturday 20 September, 2008, Visual Artists Ireland, the all Ireland representative body for visual artists, will call upon the Home Office to stop the blatant discrimination against visual artists within the new points based visa system. An open discussion on the topic will take place during the opening week of the Liverpool Biennial, hosted by Printed Project (a Visual Artists Ireland publication) and in partnership with Belfast Exposed, and featuring contributions from David Jacques (Artist), Pauline Hadaway (Director, Belfast Exposed), and Yvette Vaughan Jones (Visiting Arts, UK).

Since June 29th 2008, the writers, composers and artists category in visa applications is closed to new applicants. If an artist wishes to come to the United Kingdom to work, or is already here in another immigration category and wishes to extend their stay, they now need to apply under Tier 1 or Tier 5 of the new points-based system.

“With recent changes to the new immigration visa system comes a new form of censorship within the visual arts.” commented Noel Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Visual Artists Ireland. He continued “It has become increasingly more difficult for artists and cultural organisations to work with colleagues and peers from outside the United Kingdom and Europe. The Home Office must understand that the potential for the stagnation of cultural life through the imposition of these new regulations is immense”.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: “We want the UK to stay open and attractive for both business and visitors. But at the same time we are determined to deliver a system of border security which is among the most secure in the world. That’s why we are currently carrying out the biggest shake-up to the immigration system for a generation. Centre-stage is our new Australian-style points system which means only those we need can come here to work or study. We have consulted widely on all criteria. Codes of Practice have been drawn up for the creative sector by the sector itself. The sector advised on the criteria. Once the Sector completed the code of practice it is submitted to us (UKBA) to comment on and approve. The minister signs it off before it is published.”

However, upon further questioning, about different accreditations that are available under the system to people such as scientists and entertainers, the Home Office outlined that there used to be an entry category of writers, composers and artists – this was deleted by a Statement of Changes in Parliament on 30th June 2008. No further explanation was given.

This can be seen as having a direct effect on the diversity of artistic practices that has made the United Kingdom so key in international cultural life. To this end, an open discussion on the topic will take place during the opening week of the Liverpool Biennial. Hosted by Printed Project (a Visual Artists Ireland publication) and in partnership with Belfast Exposed, the event will be open to all members of the public and will feature contributions from the perspective of: David Jacques (Artist), Pauline Hadaway (Director, Belfast Exposed), and Yvette Vaughan Jones (Visiting Arts, UK).

The event takes place on Saturday 20 September, 2008 at the Site Gallery, Liverpool John Moores University School of Art and Design, 68 Hope Street, Liverpool at 2pm.

Entry is free and all are welcome.
Challenge to New Points Based Visa System


Event Title: Challenge to New Points Based Visa System
Further Details:
-Visit the Visual Arts Ireland website
-Visit the Printed Project website" target="_blank"> -Visit the Visual Arts Ireland website
-Visit the Printed Project website
Contact Email: No booking required. Free entry.