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A three month cultural festival costing 75 million GBP will run alongside the Olympic Games in 2012.


New immigration rules are impacting on cultural workers entering the UK.

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United Kingdom/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.6 Other relevant issues

The Department for International Development (DFID) is the part of the UK Government that manages Britain's aid to developing countries and works to eliminate extreme poverty. It has two offices in the UK and 64 overseas. It supports a small number of development projects that involve culture, for example: a radio programme in Nigeria (through the State & Local Government Programme); an educational TV drama series - Makutano Junction - in Kenya; use of drama in Peru to promote knowledge of the election process and psychosocial projects, as part of emergency relief. Independent organisations and cultural practitioners also initiate a wide range of culture in development projects; the British Council produced an Arts & Culture in Development Directory featuring 70 examples - available online at:

The UK hosts a range of well established international cultural events, as well as many festivals and activities programmed by national and regional authorities, organisations and venues, for example, Scotland has hosted the Edinburgh International Festival since 1947; the London International Festival of Theatre has been running since 1981 and the Notting Hill Carnival (Europe's largest street event) was established in 1964. In 2012, London will be hosting the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. In November 2007 the government launched a GBP 40 million fund that will use the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to promote the arts and sport to young people. Legacy Trust UK will support cultural, artistic, educational and sporting activities all over the country. A three month event - Festival 2012 - will run from June to September, with a budget of more than GBP 75 million of public and private sector funds.

Changes introduced to immigration rules with a transition to a new Points Based System has caused some problems for visiting artists from outside the European Economic Area or non residents of those countries. Although the government agreed that creative workers coming to the UK for less that three months will not require visas (though they still require a sponsor), for those seeking a visa to stay longer the requirement for biometric information, including fingerprinting, has meant that the processing takes much longer. In summer 2009, the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee called for changes to the Points Based System, which had made it impossible for presenters to arrange short notice replacements from overseas, e.g. in the event of an opera singer or senior ballet dancer being unable to perform at the last moment. Concerns have also been expressed by the arts community about the entry conditions and criteria governing visas for up to 12 months for temporary workers (Tier 5) and visas for longer periods (Tier 2). United Kingdom Border Agency fees for immigration applications (GBP 128 for Tier 5 applications, GBP 270 for Tier 2 and GBP 68 for short term visas) are likely to increase. Representations from the National Campaign for the Arts and others in the arts and entertainment sector have resulted in some modifications to the visa process, but concerns remain that the new system has made the process of inviting overseas artists time - consuming and expensive, as well as inhibiting. Moreover, the new government's proposals to limit the number of work permits granted annually may also adversely impact on international cultural mobility into the UK.

Chapter published: 15-04-2011

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