Brexit update

Although the Britain was expected to leave the European Union on the 29th March 2019, a flexible extension agreed with the EU27 has pushed the deadline back to 31st October 2019.

It remains unclear what form Brexit may take, with a range of scenarios being possible, from the approval of a Withdrawal Agreement, to the revocation of Article 50, or a so-called ‘no-deal Brexit’. As a result, all responsible business must work to mitigate, in so far as possible, any impacts from leaving with no transitional agreement in place.

Since the referendum in 2016, PRS for Music has conducted assessments on the possible impacts of the various forms of leaving the EU on our operations, our staff, the rights we represent and, of course, our members. In line with that analysis, we have put in place the necessary mitigation measures to ensure we can continue to operate effectively on behalf of our members the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU.  In some instances, these measures are intended to provide short-term fixes, to minimise the costs to members, while we await confirmation of the future trading relationship with the EU.

In short, we are confident that members will not see any adverse effects on the collection or distribution of their royalties by PRS for Music as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

For members with specific questions about the possible impacts of Brexit on their work, such as the ability to tour in the EU, we set out below some guidance, based on the information that has been issued by the Government, to help you to plan ahead. This guidance is not comprehensive but is intended to flag areas that may raise questions and signpost possible solutions.

Movement of goods in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit

Travelling and touring with instruments and equipment

If no deal is agreed, from the 31st October 2019 the UK will immediately begin to be treated as a third country for customs purposes in the EU, which means it may become necessary to make import and export declarations.

Therefore, if you are travelling to an EU member state to work, for example, on tour or as part of a production or orchestra, you will need to consider what, if any, action you will need to take if you are bringing instruments and/or equipment with you. 

It is important to remember that customs procedures will be applicable whether you are moving goods across borders for non-commercial purposes or the movement is temporary.

The rules do vary from one country to another within the EU due to differences in how national legislation deals with non-EU countries, so it’s best to be informed, and to plan the process well in advance.

Do you know what items you are taking with you and the value of those items? Customs authorities may ask you to identify all the items you are moving across the border.

Are you aware of the customs processes in the country you are travelling to? This information can be found easily with a quick online search. 

Should you hire a customs broker or a freight forwarder to help plan your journeys and navigate customs procedures? 

You may be able to use a ‘declaration by conduct’, or ‘oral declaration’ instead of a full written customs declaration. These both require a paper form, that is completed in the presence of customs authorities.

An ATA Carnet is an international customs document that allows you to temporarily import professional equipment, staging items, or goods for exhibitions (including musical instruments, lighting, wardrobe etc). An ATA Carnet allows you to clear goods through customs in countries that are part of the Carnet system. It is applied for on a country-by-country basis. Once acquired it is valid for one year and allows for the movement of the goods listed as many times as is required in that period.

If you are intending to take the items back into the UK, you will need proof that the items were here before you took them abroad (e.g. an export declaration), otherwise you may be taxed on re-entry.

If any of the instruments or equipment you are taking abroad contain material from species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), you will need to obtain the specific licenses.

Cultural goods over 50 years old, including valuable instruments (valued at or above £34,300) are likely to be classed as ‘objects of cultural interest’ so you may require a specific license for their transport out of the UK.

You can read the full government guidance on the movement of goods by going to the GOV.UK website

Movement of people

Travelling to and working in the UK

The White Paper (December 2018) includes provisions to address the ability of temporary workers to secure visas to Britain, and in so doing offers some insight into the impact the changes will have on the ability of musicians and others in the creative sector to tour in the UK. 

The rules of immigration will apply in the same way to peoples of all nationalities in a single skills-based system to be phased-in once the implementation period comes to an end on 31 December 2020. 

Note: If you are an Irish or British citizen, there will be no change: you will continue to enjoy the freedom to travel between and within the United Kingdom and Ireland, without any immigration controls.

The new immigration system will apply regardless of whether or not there is a deal.

  • As a visitor to the UK, you will be able to spend up to 6 months in the country.  
  • As part of a new ‘universal permission to travel’ requirement, an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) will be introduced. This will be a simple online system, more light-touch than a visa requirement. 

As a creative worker, you should consider applying for the ‘Creative and Sporting’ route. The route currently applies to non-EU creative workers who are working and touring in the UK.

  • As an artist, musician, or entertainer, you will be able to work or perform in the UK for up to 12 months.
  • You can receive payment for appearances at certain festivals or for up to one month on a specific engagement, without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa.
  • If you are travelling from a specified country, you may be able to benefit from visa-free travel for up to three months if you obtain sponsorship.

You may be eligible for certain specialist routes, adapted from existing policies, including:

Exceptional talent: a flexible route for highly skilled individuals, including those in the creative arts, which will be increased from 2,000 places each year.

Other temporary workers: for example, if you are aged 18-20 you may be eligible for the Youth mobility scheme.

The cap on the number of skilled workers (20,700 per year) will be removed.

The £30,000 minimum salary threshold will be retained, although in some circumstances, for example where skills are in shortage, you may be allowed to migrate at a lower salary level.

No new scheme for low skilled workers has been indicated at this stage, however, there will be a time-limited route available to temporary short-term workers:

  • If you are travelling from a specified low-risk country, you will be able to enter the UK for a maximum of 12 months, with a cooling-off period of a further 12 months (meaning you must wait 12 months before you can apply to re-enter the UK).
  • You will require a visa.
  • Sponsorship is not necessary.

You can find more information on visas and immigration by going to the GOV.UK website

The EU settlement scheme

Remaining in the UK if you are not a UK or Irish national

The UK Government has stated its intention to respect the rights of those EU nationals already resident in the UK. This means that even in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, EU citizens and their family members living in the UK will be welcome to remain and continue to work. However, in order to do so EU nationals may need apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you are an EU citizen and you wish to remain in the UK after the 30 June 2021, you and your family will need to apply for ‘settled status’ using the new EU Settlement Scheme.

The public test phase of the scheme is currently live before its full launch on the 30 March 2019. Until the scheme opens fully, you can only apply if:

  • You are from the EU, or;
  • You have a family member who is from the EU and own a residence card with a biometric chip and ‘EU right to reside’ on the back.

On the 21 January 2019, the Prime Minister announced that there will be no fee when the scheme opens fully on 30 March to ensure that there is no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay. To apply before this date, the fee (which will be refunded) is:

  • £65 if you’re 16 or over;
  • £32.50 if you’re under 16.

You can read more information about the EU Settlement scheme by going to the GOV.UK website.

The application takes approximately 30 minutes. You must be in the UK when completing your application.

You will need:

  • An email address
  • Your current passport or biometric residence card
  • Debit or credit card
  • An Android phone with ‘contactless’ (meaning you can use your phone to pay for things)

Step 1. Prove your identity. Use the Home Office app to scan the electric information in your passport.

Step 2. Answer questions about yourself. Your answers will enable the Home Office to confirm how long you have been resident in the UK. In most cases, this means you will not be required to provide any hard evidence.

Step 3. Check your result. The Home Office will tell you whether you are a successful applicant. You can accept the result if you agree, or add evidence of your residence if you disagree.

Successful applicants will receive either settled or pre-settled status. Settled status will usually be granted if:

  • You have begun living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • You have 5 years’ continuous residence in the UK

Pre-settled status will usually be granted if you do not have 5 years’ continuous residence.

The deadline for applying is the 30 June 2021. However, in a ‘no deal’ scenario the deadline for applying is the 31 December 2020.

The EU Settlement Scheme is currently not accessible on an iPhone, although the Government is attempting to rectify this issue with Apple.

You will need to have access to an Android device to upload the necessary ID documents on the app part of the application process.

However, you make an appointment with the Assisted Digital service they can have your documents scanned and verified for you at an ID document scanner location.  You will need to bring:

  • Your current valid biometric EU passport or valid biometric residence card
  • A mobile phone that can receive text messages or a device that can receive emails

If you live in a particular area, you can ask for an Assisted Digital tutor to visit you at home and help you complete your application. Alternatively, you can send your identity document to the Home Office by post.