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Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK

sheila 28 May 09 - 05:34 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 28 May 09 - 06:04 PM
bald headed step child 28 May 09 - 06:11 PM
olddude 28 May 09 - 06:45 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 28 May 09 - 06:52 PM
bald headed step child 28 May 09 - 07:07 PM
Richard Bridge 28 May 09 - 10:19 PM
michaelr 28 May 09 - 10:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 May 09 - 12:21 AM
Peace 29 May 09 - 02:34 AM
Peace 29 May 09 - 02:36 AM
Kampervan 29 May 09 - 03:14 AM
evansakes 29 May 09 - 03:43 AM
The Villan 29 May 09 - 03:47 AM
Howard Jones 29 May 09 - 04:01 AM
nickp 29 May 09 - 04:40 AM
Betsy 29 May 09 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Golightly 29 May 09 - 05:58 AM
Ratdog 29 May 09 - 06:41 AM
Howard Jones 29 May 09 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 May 09 - 07:02 AM
meself 29 May 09 - 07:24 AM
Bryn Pugh 29 May 09 - 07:57 AM
Morris-ey 29 May 09 - 08:52 AM
nickp 29 May 09 - 09:08 AM
meself 29 May 09 - 09:14 AM
Will Fly 29 May 09 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Folknacious 29 May 09 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,The lemonade lady 29 May 09 - 09:45 AM
meself 29 May 09 - 10:03 AM
manitas_at_work 29 May 09 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 May 09 - 10:51 AM
meself 29 May 09 - 11:02 AM
manitas_at_work 29 May 09 - 11:09 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 29 May 09 - 11:14 AM
Joe Offer 29 May 09 - 12:35 PM
meself 29 May 09 - 12:37 PM
DebC 29 May 09 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Adrian 29 May 09 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Adrian 29 May 09 - 01:50 PM
gnu 29 May 09 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Adrian 29 May 09 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Adrian 29 May 09 - 03:52 PM
meself 29 May 09 - 04:46 PM
bankley 29 May 09 - 05:27 PM
gnu 29 May 09 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Adrian 29 May 09 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Adrian 29 May 09 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,highlandman at home 29 May 09 - 06:55 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 May 09 - 09:07 PM
bankley 30 May 09 - 08:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 May 09 - 07:35 PM
meself 30 May 09 - 09:18 PM
BB 31 May 09 - 02:49 AM
evansakes 31 May 09 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Manifesto Club reply 31 May 09 - 05:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 09 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,Guest: Manick Govinda 31 May 09 - 06:20 PM
meself 31 May 09 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,William Pint 01 Jun 09 - 01:02 AM
GUEST,Adrian 01 Jun 09 - 01:25 AM
GUEST,Adrian 01 Jun 09 - 01:29 AM
nickp 01 Jun 09 - 08:34 AM
GUEST 01 Jun 09 - 08:47 AM
Morris-ey 01 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM
meself 01 Jun 09 - 12:06 PM
Howard Jones 01 Jun 09 - 03:09 PM
Bonzo3legs 02 Jun 09 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Silas 02 Jun 09 - 01:17 PM
Barry Finn 02 Jun 09 - 07:17 PM
The Barden of England 03 Jun 09 - 05:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jun 09 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Jay 5 28 Jun 09 - 12:50 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 28 Jun 09 - 09:41 AM
Arnie 28 Jun 09 - 01:08 PM
DebC 28 Jun 09 - 02:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jun 09 - 07:26 PM
Jim Lad 29 Jun 09 - 05:56 AM
Arnie 29 Jun 09 - 10:47 AM
Gervase 29 Jun 09 - 10:54 AM
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Arnie 30 Jun 09 - 05:57 AM
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Subject: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: sheila
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:34 PM

from an article in today's 'Northern Times', a newspaper for the north of Scotland -

"INTERNATIONALLY renowned Canadian singer Allison Crowe, on her way to stay with friends in North-West Sutherland last week, was held for 11 hours at Gatwick Airport in London by immigration officials – and then deported back home.

And all because she and fellow band members had failed to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship from venues they were due to play at, a little-known visa requirement following legislation brought in last November to combat illegal immigration and terrorism."

full story at http://www.northern-times.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/6098/North-bound_visitor__treated_like_a_terrorist_.html


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Subject: RE: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 28 May 09 - 06:04 PM

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that ths climate of fear nonsense that surrounds our every move doesn't actually appear to be stopping many real terrorists?


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Subject: RE: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: bald headed step child
Date: 28 May 09 - 06:11 PM

"Any man who would give up liberty for the sake of security, deserves neither"---Ben Frankiln


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Subject: RE: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: olddude
Date: 28 May 09 - 06:45 PM

Bald headed step child has it right
I have that quote from Franklin about my desk at my office


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Subject: RE: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 28 May 09 - 06:52 PM

The world's gone stark raving mad...

The lunatics are in charge once more..

Viva la Revolucion!


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Subject: RE: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: bald headed step child
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:07 PM

It is easy to wrest power from the people. Simply convince them of a common enemy, then convince them that you can protect them from this enemy.(Basic idea, not sure of the exact wording)--H. Goering


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Subject: RE: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:19 PM

I spy a negligence claim against her legal advisers...


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Subject: RE: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: michaelr
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:47 PM

..."all because she and fellow band members had failed to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship from venues..."

Looks to me like someone didn't do their homework. We can all be dismayed, and with good reason, about post-9/11 Big Brother-style government requirements, but by now no one should be surprised by them.


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Subject: RE: Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 May 09 - 12:21 AM

"She and fellow band members": Definitely not a personal visit.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Peace
Date: 29 May 09 - 02:34 AM

Beware of stupid people -- in groups.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Peace
Date: 29 May 09 - 02:36 AM

She LOOKS like a terrorist; that's easy enough to see . . . .


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Kampervan
Date: 29 May 09 - 03:14 AM

Will nobody rid us of these turbulent lawmakers?


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: evansakes
Date: 29 May 09 - 03:43 AM

Is this "certificate of sponsorship" different to a 'work permit'?

If so, did these musicians have their work permits? Every tour has to have a 'sponsor' of some kind. Usually it's a booking agent who fulfills this role and they know how to process these things. There's no such thing as a private or social visit if remuneration is being made for musical performances.

I know of quite a few cases of musicians deported because they didn't have work permits. One renowned American singer-songwriter was caught out quite recently arriving for gigs without a permit.

When questioned if you're doing gigs it's best to admit it. Even customs officers have enough nous about them to go into another room, switch on a computer, google your name, find your website and know that your telling porkies.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: The Villan
Date: 29 May 09 - 03:47 AM

Just in case anybody gets concerned about the Tanglefoot tour, I can confirm that Tanglefoot have received their Certificates Of Sponsorship for their forthcoming tour.

Allison's agent (assuming she used an agent) should have known and dealt with it. That is the agents job, to be up on these rules and regulations.

However, I would like to thank Sheila for putting this thread up and making us aware of this issue.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 29 May 09 - 04:01 AM

The information is easily found on the UK Border Agency website, although the system seems to assume a "creative worker" will be working for a single employer rather than doing a series of one-off gigs.

This situation was unfortunate for the musicians involved and their disappointed audiences, but it does look as if someone hasn't done their homework.

However, the allegations about the way they were treated while in detention are disturbing.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: nickp
Date: 29 May 09 - 04:40 AM

Not sure about 'easily found' Howard. I've just gone round in cirlces for about 30 pages without finding what I needed to know. Perhaps you can help with a quick summary.

Assume (although it is true)... in the past I have been responsible for applying for work permits for American artists (musicians) to appear at a festival. Previously I have filled in a WP3 form with all the relevant details and sent it off with payment, receiving the permits (usually) very rapidly.

The only WP3 form I can now find relates to a few Eastern European contries so I guess it's been replaced.

Although I, personally, no longer do the permits, the organisation still gets US artists for the festival. Any helpful summary of the changes would be greatly appreciated.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Betsy
Date: 29 May 09 - 05:54 AM

The worlds going mad – thinking about the Canadian connection , I was travelling back from the Middle East yesterday and having to get a couple of different flights I met TWO Americans who were refused entry into Canada because of Drinking / Driving convictions.
I don't condone the D&D but they're hardly murders or gangsters – but it is enough to exclude them?
There seems to be lots of spare wood being let into Britain ,( and financially supported) so I send my apologies to Alison for what it's worth. There have been plenty of social models - which start by attacking art and culture - god forbid the British start these "tricks".


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,Golightly
Date: 29 May 09 - 05:58 AM

There may have been recent changes to the certificates required, but musicians have always been treated with suspicion by immigration authorities.
Some years ago my partner was a professional musician who worked regularly in the US. Consequently, there were lots of American work permits in my partner's passport, so even if we visited America for personal, non-work reasons we were always questioned at length before being admitted into the US.

Canada in particular has always been stringent in its treatment of foreign musicians, so it's ironic that a Canadian musician fell foul of our regulations.

I think that countries assume that once you've worked there, your return visits are less likely to be purely personal.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Ratdog
Date: 29 May 09 - 06:41 AM

Heya Betsy, you stated: "I met TWO Americans who were refused entry into Canada because of Drinking / Driving convictions."

Well, they weren't lying, Canada bars entry of anyone with a drinking and driving conviction, not just Americans but even to Canadians like my friend Jason, who moved here to the USA, got a DUI, now, even though his entire family still lives in Canada he's not allowed to enter, even to see them.

Talk about cold blooded, if Jason wasn't such a good friend of mine, and told me about it, it's likely I wouldn't have believed him.

On the other hand, I've traveled around and even worked in Canada, their laws involving alcohol consumption are more strict in general than those here in most of the USA, so it's not completely surprising.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 29 May 09 - 07:01 AM

I have no specialist knowledge but out of curiosity I googled and found these:

Working in the UK - creative and sporting workers

Sponsorship


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 May 09 - 07:02 AM

Seems fair enough.

We had a recent thread about another Canadian moaning about visa fees to the US....because they had waited too late and needed to expedite.

Publicity like this is a good reminder to get your affairs in order before internation travel.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 29 May 09 - 07:24 AM

From the linked article:

John Thurso, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, told the NT this week: " ... The rule itself is an affront to the great British tradition of welcoming overseas artists and another example of this government's unyielding zeal for mindless regulation. Security is important, but throwing international performers into a lock-up and being rude to them should be no part of it."


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 29 May 09 - 07:57 AM

The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Britons beware - what few Civil Liberties which remain to us are under threat.

Still feel to vote BNP, or UKIP, anyone ?


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Morris-ey
Date: 29 May 09 - 08:52 AM

Anyone who wishes to enter a foreign country has to comply with that country's legal requirements and that means that they, or in this case their agents, research what that means.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: nickp
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:08 AM

Thanks for the links Howard. I guess I'd better get our current organisers to turn the organisation into a sponsor.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:14 AM

Nice to see all the support for regulation, restriction, paperwork, bureaucracy, legality, and general fussiness. Keep up the good work, people - you're winning!


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:24 AM

It's not the first time that this has happened, even before all the tightening of regulations, and artists who haven't got the requisite work permits have had real problems on arrival at this country. My other half has just come back from a month in California, and had to get all the paperwork spot on before she could go.

It's not really a question of whether the rules are excessive, stupid, bureaucratic, etc. (and I also happen to think they are). The onus is always on the artist(e) or their agency or manager - whoever - to work out the requirements before the journey is made, and make sure they're complied with. It's a huge shame that Allison Crowe was refused entry, but you can't buck the system just because you're a performer, and ignorance of the system is no excuse.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:39 AM

Friends of mine who toured regularly in the US a few years ago said that their approach was to engage a good, well-reputed visa lawyer and pay them to get on with it. It wasn't cheap, but compared with the cost of losing paid-for flights and a month's work fees they considered it good insurance money well spent. It always worked, and a professional in the field is fully aware of latest bureaucracy changes, necessary timescales, and most importantly has a good trusted working relationship with the bureaucrats. Can't see any reason why this approach shouldn't work in the opposite direction. It's when people stick their heads in the sand, think they can cut corners, slip under the radar, it won't apply to them etc that things fall apart. None of which excuses ludicrous, offensive, inappropriate bureaucracy, regulations and attitudes on behalf of those who ought to be out catching real criminals to fulfil their quotas.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to
From: GUEST,The lemonade lady
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:45 AM

So isn't it the same if we brits in to the states?


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 29 May 09 - 10:03 AM

And what do the "states" have to do with it?


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 29 May 09 - 10:30 AM

You'd have thought if we were all 'subjects' of the same Queen some leeway could be made ...

I visited Canada a few years ago on a morris dancing tour and they were quite worried we would be putting Canadians out of work!


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 May 09 - 10:51 AM

Some time ago we wanted to bring a band from Spain to perform dance music such as the dro and the lal. Immigration was worried that they, too, were going to put local musicians out of work. Fortunately their agent was able to deal with the problem.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 29 May 09 - 11:02 AM

"I visited Canada a few years ago on a morris dancing tour and they were quite worried we would be putting Canadians out of work!"

So you're the guy who stole my gig! And here I'd gone out and bought bells and everything ...


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 29 May 09 - 11:09 AM

Well we were in Toronto and there were already several 'native' teams there but they didn't seem too bothered. Took us to a bar and 'watered' us, in fact.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 29 May 09 - 11:14 AM

I'm a Canadian living in Britain, a musician who has yet to be told I've stolen anyone's gig.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 May 09 - 12:35 PM

I'm surprised that a Canadian had trouble getting entry into the UK. Doesn't Canada still have the Queen on its coins? Doesn't that help somehow?
What about Australians?
Do members of the Commonwealth have any distinctions any more?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 29 May 09 - 12:37 PM

"Doesn't Canada still have the Queen on its coins?"

Yeah, but we took her off our paper money - maybe there's some hard feeling about that ...


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: DebC
Date: 29 May 09 - 12:47 PM

As someone who goes over to the UK to tour, yes the rules have changed. I contacted my usual person and apparently she is no longer a "sponsor", but is working to try to remedy that. In the meantime, I'll be going through someone who has been qualified so all is well, at least for me (I think).

Before, it was a "work permit" that a vetted UK Agent would process for you, with a fee of £190. Now it's called a "certificate of sponsorship" and there are a few more hoops to jump through. The one that is a wee bit un-settling is "Upon entry to the UK (at immigration) each person must be able to show that they have access to £800 in order to adequately maintain themselves while they are here. The idea is that the artist must be able to prove that they are not going to be trying to try to 'sign on' as a benefit claimant."

I guess I'll have to talk with the person who will be processing the application for me. BTW-all of this came through this morning, so it's quite new to me as well.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 29 May 09 - 01:30 PM

I serve as manager to Allison Crowe - and, indeed, the new rules have come as a shock to all those with whom we've been working in the UK for years. Allison is very much a grassroots artist, and, as it turns out, the small jazz venues, community halls, and concert presenters with whom we've developed relationships report that they were neither consulted nor informed of the requirement to register with the Home Office and become a certified "Sponsor".

And, now that they have learned of the new rules, they advise they will not choose to participate - which, in effect, wipes out a tier of valuable, independent, venues for international artists.

On the part of the front-line officials, the UK border police, there is clearly misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the rules that came into force on November 27, 2009. We were provided by them with misinformation (eg. the retina scan, fingerprinting, movement monitoring, bank account scrutinizing etc. measure of this new legislation are supposed to be reserved for people not from Canada or Australis - we are classified as "non-visa nationals"; that becomes an academic consideration when the concert venues are not legal "Sponsors" in any event).

The unreasonable and heavy-handed treatment we experienced, has also been the case recently with a Canadian university professor, a journalist with the Globe and Mail newspaper, and more.

There's plenty more detail that evidences the mishandling by UK Immigration of these innocent circumstances.

What we're dealing with is wonky, discriminatory, legislation - and instances of worse enforcement.

The following linked petition, and the comments of many signatories, shines more light on the issues:
Visiting Artists and Academics Petition


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Subject: p.s.
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 29 May 09 - 01:50 PM

This new legislation does work for quite a few people - particularly those more institutionalized operators. There are such folks who find the "Certificates of Sponsorship" route more streamlined than past practices. For others however, including many true independents, this new system can now bar performances in venues that have been historically supportive of live music. No one is saying the old work permit system was perfect, but, this new system - for too many international artists, is a real mess.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: gnu
Date: 29 May 09 - 02:06 PM

Ahhhhhh... hmmmm.... nah, I'd better not. I'll just echo Peace with a right coast twist... STUNNED AS ME ARSE!


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Subject: the world is not so homogenous
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 29 May 09 - 02:15 PM

People really do have different perspectives, and one can't reasonably assume that you know all, gnu.

When I have a moment, I'll add some detail that, should you be a fair and reasonable person, will make clear that there's a wider range of experience than you suggest.


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Subject: more things in heaven and earth...
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 29 May 09 - 03:52 PM

One of the points made in my original post is that neither of the venues, both successful jazz+ clubs, had any inkling of the new rules - and it is they that must choose to register as a "Sponsor". Additionally, none of those people, music industry contacts, with whom I've spoken with in the past week, (and that's dozens in the UK, and a lesser amount in Canada and other countries), had knowledge of this new legislation prior to our encounter with the border police. A few people in the last day or two, new contacts, have stated they know of the legislation, but they know that many people do not.

That is reflective of the manner, and channels, used to disseminate such info - and shows that the cultural industries are more diverse in their membership than some players in the mainstream appreciate.

Representative of a range of comments I've received in recent days are these:

a) from a journalist with a major UK newspaper, who reports on governmental+ matters:

"This sorry story is one more illustration of what I've known for some time: like most authoritarian regimes before it, New 'Labour' is, by accident or design, philistine to the marrow.

What I didn't know before was the existence of this new law, and I now wonder how many more slip under the radar."

b) from an arts/music presenter/promoter active in London:

"As for who was consulted about the new regs. Well, the big promoters were – hand selected by the Home Office – and they sit on a task force group – Serious Music, Association of British Orchestras, etc. but they haven't campaigned for the smaller groups and promoters. In my view, there's a lot of self-serving-interest amongst certain groups who are talking to the home office, but this is not being extended to the wider artistic and music community."

c) from an agent/booker who presents tours extensively in the UK:

"Unfortunately the new rules in the article are true. Although this is the first time I've heard of someone being detained like this.   Any non-EU artist must gain a certificate of sponsorship (from a UK agent or whomever is employing/contracting them) prior to coming to the UK. That agent will have registered thier business with the Uk Border Agency. Basically I think this "certificate" is a number on a database which comes up at customs?... I think visas are involved in there somehow. Unfortunately the Commonwealth link is now irrelevant. Its anyone outside the EU who must comply with it.

It wasn't widely advertised. I knew about it as I was already registered with the Uk Border Agency for other groups,"

d) from the manager of a long-established music venue in the UK:

"I can't tell you how thoroughly annoyed and frustrated I feel at the whole situation. I have written a letter to my local MP (member of parliament / politician) to air my disgust and dismay at this idiotic legislation, which makes it virtually impossible for some international musicians to play in this country and for (particularly) smaller venues to play host to said artists because of the cost of sponsorship.

Please pass on to Allison and the band our very best wishes and sympathies – we are angered and disgusted by the way they have been treated."

And on, and on.

As residents of the UK, naturally, you will have your own views, and the views you hold may or may not jive with any of these. Still, the music industry is not one homogenous mass. You more institutionalized operators may be in the loop, however, there clearly exists a large community of law-abiding, music-loving, industry participants who were neither consulted nor informed about the new legislation.

cheers, Adrian


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 29 May 09 - 04:46 PM

GUEST, Adrian - gnu is on your side. He was reacting to the initial post, not to your previous post. (I know it's tricky trying to tell the players without a program!)

----------------

Seems a little sad that EU trumps Commonwealth. For some of us, anyway ...


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: bankley
Date: 29 May 09 - 05:27 PM

'we trade liberty for security,
mobility for chains to drag
you and me, we lose authenticity
whenever we drink at the mirage, c'est dommage'

immigration drift: meanwhile..
GW Bush is back in Canada today for another lucrative speaking engagement in Toronto with Slick Bill Clinton...

Splitting the Sky aka John Boncore was arrested in Calgary on March 17 for trying to make a citizen's arrest on Bush for war crimes... John's been charged with obstruction.. His 5 day trial is set to be held in March 2010... and he's in TO now joining the protests..    'truth to power'

one of his defense lawyers is former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark.... that ought to get some attention... being that it's a citizen's right to uphold the law when the police and government refuse to....

good luck to Allison Crowe... bet she doesn't get snagged like that again....


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: gnu
Date: 29 May 09 - 06:28 PM

meself.... I thought it was obvious that I was onside. The puck was clearly over the blueline when I turned blue!


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Subject: right said, meself
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 29 May 09 - 06:29 PM

I do apologize to you, gnu - I did, indeed, take it that you were saying there was no way people could be surprised/shocked to learn of the new rules.

Duly noted!

cheers, Adrian


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Subject: playoff blues
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 29 May 09 - 06:33 PM

I have to say, things have not been the same since my Canucks imploded in their playoff series against the Blackhawks.

Ad


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,highlandman at home
Date: 29 May 09 - 06:55 PM

I don't travel internationally to perform -- one can only wish -- but I do cross borders a good deal for business, including Canada's. It does help to be representing a well-heeled multinational with lots of lawyers, but I must say Canada is a real pain in the arse to get into. Even if I am going to one of our own company's offices I have to demonstrate no possibility that I might do work a Canadian could do. And I can't bring anything that looks like even a *picture* of a tool or test instrument with me.
(No offense personally to any of you, unless you work for the Canadian immigration service.)
But lots of other nations require either proof of a return ticket (for a very short-term work visa only) or a cash bond equal to the value of a return ticket. So if they have to shove your butt out it will be at your own expense.
The officious handling of these sorts of things is never a surprise. The Vogons are closer aboard than you think.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:07 PM

The U. S. can be just as sticky, not just about people.
Some years ago, a course was set up in Houston, teaching advanced microscopic studies. The sponsoring institution was short of microscopes and asked us (in Canada) to bring our own. We arranged things with proper papers and clearances, etc. (our legal staff thought). Four research microscopes were shipped, but when we arrived, we found that Customs in Houston were not satisfied with the paper work or our reasons. The 'scopes would have to be returned or impounded.
We scrounged the city for scopes and 'borrowed the loan' of enough.

Not only frustrating, but the packing, insurance, shipping of our scopes and the legwork and customs work cost our company over $8000, not counting the time of one of our lawyers. The scopes got a round trip and never were unpacked until they returned home.

I imagine that this has happened with musical instruments as well.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: bankley
Date: 30 May 09 - 08:56 AM

awhile back firefighters in the Quebec Eastern Townships were delayed at the border while rushing to assist US fire-fighters at a blaze.... the house burned down... dudes with big red trucks, axes and hoses do look unusual....


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 May 09 - 07:35 PM

Here's an online petition against this kind of crap - Visiting Artists and Academics Petition Only takes a couple of seconds to add your name.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 30 May 09 - 09:18 PM

Is it your impression that anyone is invited to sign, or is it for UK citizens only? It doesn't seem to say one way or the other.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: BB
Date: 31 May 09 - 02:49 AM

This from Jacey Bedford:

Hi, guys,

I'm not a regular mudcatter but Barbara Brown alerted me to this thread and I've already posted extensive information about the new Certificates of Sponsorship on uk.music.folk and (via Hugh McMillan) to the Maplepost
(Canadian) listserve.

Here's the information.

I'm not going to comment on Allison Crowe.

If you think of the Certificate of Sponsorship as an electronic replacement for the old paper work permit, you can't go too far wrong.
Artists entering to work must have a Certificate of Sponsorship just as (pre November 2008) they had to have a paper work permit. Previously anyone coming in to work without a work permit was also likely to be deported, so no change there.

The sponsorship system (a new points based system) took over from the old work permit system last November. It's well documented and the new system is up and running online. Sponsorship certificates can only be issued by a Licensed Sponsor (and I am one so I do know about this).
Licensed Sponsors have to jump through a few hoops and pay a whacking £400 for the licence and then we have access to an online application system. For sports and entertainment certificates we have to fill in an online application which requires the kind of information we used to have to give when applying for a work permit. (i.e. personal details plus gig list with dates and UK income details. It's time consuming but not difficult.).

Once the Certificate of Sponsorship has been processed (and paid for) a number is issued which corresponds to the file on the UK Border Agency's database. This is effectively an electronic work permit.

Artists from countries which do not require visas for UK visits (Canada/Australia/ USA etc) may enter for less than three months without any further requirements. All they need to do is bring the number of the certificate to the Immigration officials on entry into the UK. Artists from countries that require Visas (like - say - South
Africa) and all artists coming into the UK for more than three months must take their Certificate of Sponsorship number to the British Embassy in their own country and get Entry Clearance before travelling.

It's simple enough... Certainly not rocket science and certainly not 'a little known visa requirement' as the Allison Crowe artoicle in the newspaper suggests. Yes it's new, but anyone travelling to another country to work would always be well advised to check visa and work permit requirements before travelling.

Anyone who comes to the UK to work on a regular basis probably has a UK agent and all of us UK agents who regularly applied for work permits under the old system were contacted by the Border agency and informed of the change of regulations. I knew back in May 2008, though full details weren't available until autumn 2008.

Fow the purposes of making a sponsorship certificate application an agent stands in for the 'employer'

Yes, applying for the Sponsor's Licence was a bit of a pain in the arse as I had to jump through a lot of hoops and there are legal requirements that I must fulfil, but from the artist's point of view as long as they hook up with a British Licensed Sponsor, they can get that certificate easily enough.

For the record, my agency is not currently taking on new artists, but I can help with Sponsorship Certificates for legitimate touring performers, so if anyone has any questions email me at the agency
address:
agency(at)jacey-bedford.com
www.jacey-bedford.com

I've done sponsorship certificated for 17 performers this week - 12 South Africans and 5 Canadians. (That's Tanglefoot and The Mighty Zulu
Nation.) All were hassle-free.

Jacey Bedford


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: evansakes
Date: 31 May 09 - 03:43 AM

I think the lesson learned from all this is that overseas artists coming to tour in the UK can't now do so without involving an agent or middle-man of some sort.

I know of many who have booked their own tours by contacting the venues directly but this is going to be especially problematic from now on (certainly inadvisable if not impossible). Of course most of the artists we're dealing with aren't earning a great deal anyway so paying an agent a percentage in addition to fixed fees isn't ever going to be an attractive prospect. Needs must though. The fees involved ARE going to be prohibitive and I know more than one agent who has shied away from going through the registration procedure "hoops" as outlined above by Jacey.

This is going to mean either they will have to find a certified 'sponsor' who is prepared to sub-contract their services or there will be fewer overseas artists on tour in future.

I suppose the UK is therefore laying itself open to allegations of artistic protectionism.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,Manifesto Club reply
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:41 PM

Our petition has no borders! So please let your international colleagues know that anyone who believes in the principles of the petition can sign it.

Visiting Artists and Academics Petition


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:48 PM

I think a general artistic and academic boycott of the UK would be a very reasonable response.

I think if I didn't live here I'd cross it off my list of destinations.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,Guest: Manick Govinda
Date: 31 May 09 - 06:20 PM

I welcome the lively debate about the new Points Based/Certificate of Sponsorship system on this site. However, it is a slippery slope to the erosion of civil liberties and freedom when authorities begin to issue certificates through a central database system, when promoters have to be approved by the state in order to bring international artists over; when retina and fingerprint scanning is made compulsory. Talk to any artist in Israel/Palestine and they can tell you how slippery the slope to authoritarianism can be. The new system regulates and controls our right to invite artists and pay them to perform or collaborate with UK artists, with the minimum of fuss. This pernicious bureaucracy needs de-regulating not streamlining into a faceless database system. Where's the human connection in all this? What will happen to artistic freedom and artistic autonomy? An individual or organisation should have the right to invite their peers, friends, professional colleagues to visit and contribute, artistically, socially and intellectually. The new system is a knee-jerk, fearful reaction in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration. It's protectionist, breeds suspicion of others, and it's parochial. Terrorism will not be stopped by the new regulations, it will not reduce unemployment in the UK but it will increase the unofficial, invisible and downright dangerous and life-threatening routes that some migrants are forced to go through in order to seek a better quality of life.

There are no borders to the petition against the UK Home Office's restrictions against non-EU artists and academics. For more information about the campaign and access to the petition, please visit: http://www.manifestoclub.com/visitingartists

'Well, everybody might be just one big soul,
or it looks that way to me.
Everywhere you look, in the day or the night,
That's where I'm gonna be, Ma.
That's where I'm gonna be.

'Wherever little children are hungry and cry,
wherever people ain't free,
whevever men and women are fightin' for their rights,
that's where I'm gonna be, Ma.
That's where I'm gonna be.'

Bruce Sprinsteen, The Ballad of Tom Joad


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 31 May 09 - 07:30 PM

Thanks for the info.

(Um ... wasn't that Woody Guthrie?)


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to
From: GUEST,William Pint
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 01:02 AM

As a performer who has been touring in the UK for many years, I'd like to say that the change in legal requirement from work permit to sponsorship was made clear long in advance of my last visit in February.

I don't know how Allison Crowe handled these things in the past, but, I do know that it was common for some US performers to travel to the UK as tourists and regularly sneak in without work permits. If she's traveled there in the past she should have been familiar with getting work permits, and if she tried to get one for this trip, she'd have found that the rules had changed. The article's wording about "staying with friends" with her "fellow bandmates" makes it sound as if she was caught trying to pull a fast one.

Customs and Immigration Officials are, generally speaking, not stupid and can see through most of the lies that are regularly thrown at them. I find it far less stressful to play by the rules and get official permission/sponsorship rather than sweat it out for the entire flight. Especially seeing that these people tend to take it kind of personally when folks give them bullshit. Also -- lets face it -- the agent who captures a folk singer probably gets the same sort of job credit as the agent who catches an actual dangerous bad guy. We make nice safe easy targets.

Don't do it - it's not worth it. They hold all the aces in this game -- every one.

I wish that the world was all border-free and friendly and one big planet, but, that just isn't the way it works right now. Politicians feel they get re elected by 'protecting' their homelands and pass this sort of garbage to make it look as if they are at least trying to do it.

I see that Jacey Bedford posted here -- I'd recommend Jacey as a reliable source for artists looking to tour in the UK legally. I have never been turned away at the border, and she has always come through with the correct paperwork in spite of some tremendous red tape difficulties.

William Pint


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 01:25 AM

William, you're right that the border police hold the power - but, you're not correct on a lot of the assumptions in your post.

Certainly I know you're wrong about what you believe regarding Allison Crowe. The fact is she was visiting friends as well as performing. That was disclosed.

After the fact - when airport staff shocked by the over-the-top heavy-handedness of the authorities spoke with Allison and her band - they recommended to the group they'd be better off lying next time.

Obviously, that's not the answer. Still, I can understand the airline folks' frustration.

As you'll see from the news articles and other posts here, this is a problem that extends far beyond the incident involving our group. We happened to land in the middle of the same immigration confusion that's seen other international artists and academics cancel visits and/or be deported. That's the bigger issue.

There's no reason to doubt that Jacey does her job well for you and her other clients. And, for people thinking about their gigs, her service sounds well worth considering. For people who are musing on the big picture, and who don't support the discriminatory new rules and where they lead - Manick's site and petition may be a preferred stop. Why not do both!

And, sure, there's lots going wrong with immigration policies and police state tactics in my home country of Canada, and neighbouring USA. Still, both do allow independent artists to plot their own tours without having to employ agents approved by the state. And, when you get into the fingerprinting and retina scan+ demands being put on non-EU "visa nationals" it's hard to imagine a fair-minded person not becoming outraged. Small wonder one of the world's greatest classical pianists, Grigory Sokolov, viewed it as unworthy to submit.

I go back to an older-school folk ethos. Would Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger turn a blind eye to the injustice here - and just say, hey, it's not my problem - just tell me, how do I get to my gig?

TwickFolk pegged things correctly. Now, some care, and some don't.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 01:29 AM

Indeed, meself, that dustbowl ballad is originally by Woody Guthrie. Sounds like Bruce Springsteen covers it.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: nickp
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 08:34 AM

Jacey - thank you for the info. Our little organisation - only applying for a handful of permits a year - was obviously not big enough to be notified. We knew changes were afoot but not when.

Ho hum. Anyway, thanks again. Nick


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 08:47 AM

Enrollment of Additional Aliens, Additional Biometric Data and Expansion to More Land Ports
This final rule is effective January 18, 2009.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Morris-ey
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM

Adrian

Whist not wishing to comment on the efficacy of any immigration rules, I would say that it is incumbent on anyone wishing to enter any country to be clear what are the current rules of entry.

I would also suggest that most people in the UK (or any other country) do not need to know, or to be told as a matter of course, what special conditions might apply to foreign nationals. In the case of venues who do book foreign acts, then you might expect them to do some research but the ultimate responsibility lies with the in-coming artist or his/her agents.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: meself
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 12:06 PM

Some people seem to be missing the point here. Nobody is saying that people planning a trip to another country should not find out what the "current rules of entry" are. A number of people are saying that the "current rules of entry" are unnecessarily cumbersome, invasive, and expensive, and that they discourage international cultural exchange, and they are being enforced in a heavy-handed way.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 03:09 PM

In particular, they discourage the interchange of performers of the type of music this forum is interested in, where many of the performers don't charge huge fees and many of the promoters are amateurs trying to do it in their spare time, and for the love of the music rather than financial profit. In both cases, neither can afford the financial costs (and perhaps the time commitment) necessary to comply with the requirements, and so future tours won't now happen.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 01:12 PM

Just blame this bunch of wankers in the labour party - hopefully for not much longer!!


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 01:17 PM

"Just blame this bunch of wankers in the labour party - hopefully for not much longer!!"

good stuff eh?

This is the right place for pithy well constructed thoughtful posts, there can be no doubt about that.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 07:17 PM

Aside from it making it more cumbersome to the indie artists & small venue/festival market by the rule of having to apply to a government apporved anybody makes it an easy way to streamlined a basis. If it's folk that's seen as a protest music/movement then it's streamlined a way to exclude performers in this genre to enter within it's borders. There were/are many nations that wanted to wipe out jazz or (insert name of the week here) from the clubs & venues within their confines.
Another reason is border reg warfare. When one nation puts up restrictions another nation retalates. Brazil did this not to long ago

Barry


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 05:08 AM

Didn't Les Barker have a similar problem going to the USA last year? At least he hadn't actually gone, but it's not only Britain doing this I believe.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 04:06 PM

They've done it again - this time it wasn't a musician being caught out by this stupid new system, ot was a young girl from Argentina's Welsh community planning to stay with a family in Wales for a few months - Welsh learner denied entry to UK

"A woman has been sent back from the UK to Patagonia after immigration officials refused to believe she was travelling to Wales to learn Welsh....There has been a Welsh settlement in the South American region since 1865. After a flight lasting approximately 15 hours, Evelyn Calcabrini, 20, arrived at London Heathrow on 25 May, a Bank Holiday. Ms Calcabrini, 20...had arranged to stay with Eos Griffiths and his Patagonian-born wife Carina, at their home in Glyndyfrdwy.

She had a letter from the couple, confirming they would support her during her stay in the UK. However, she was told she could not stay in the UK and was sent home.


If you haven't signed that petition up the thread, it might be a good idea to do so. Wherever you live.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to
From: GUEST,Jay 5
Date: 28 Jun 09 - 12:50 AM

Outside of a Royal Prince - WHO ? ? ? would want to learn Welch?

Argentina? Spanish
Argentina? Portuguese
Argentina? English

Argentina? WELCH???? (Cheap servant - for a job even the Welch won't do)


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 28 Jun 09 - 09:41 AM

A friend of mine, travelling on a British passport, went from the US to Canada to watch the Canadian Grand Prix. At the border he was questioned as to why he was visiting Canada and he explained, to watch the G.P. He was allowed in but informed, in no uncertain terms, " Be out in three days!!". Which just goes to show nowhere is free from uncomfotrable security measures.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Arnie
Date: 28 Jun 09 - 01:08 PM

The girl from Patagonia would not be refused entry and sent back without good reason. Believe you me, immigration officials are not simply allowed to refuse entry to would-be visitors just on a whim. Even if a passenger is rude and abusive, refusal is simply not allowed by law. There would have been incriminating evidence of some kind, either verbal or written, that convinced the IO that more than a visit was intended. The IO would then refer the case to a Chief Immigration Officer who would have had to also be convinced that the evidence suggested that more than a visit was intended. UKBA officials are not stupid but neither are they uncaring automatons. They take the Government shilling and they do the Government's work. But, they are not allowed to bend the rules to simply refuse entry to someone who meets the rules. As regards the Certificates of Sponsorship for artists, as plenty of posters have said earlier, it is actually quite simple if you take the trouble to read the UKBA website - and it makes life easier for those who do.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: DebC
Date: 28 Jun 09 - 02:20 PM

Well, FWIW, my Certificate of Sponsorship came through last week and not only was it pretty simple and painless it was a lot less expensive than the old Work Permit.

My paperwork arrived in the UK on June 10 and I had the Certificate number on June 17.

I have been told that I'll need to present the emial with the Certificate number and confirmation of my return flight back to the US and I should be good to go. My sponsor told me that I should call her if there are any problems when I go through Immigration.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jun 09 - 07:26 PM

"Believe you me" I believe you believe what you are saying, Arnie. But I'd put more trust in the comments of the Plaid Cymru MPs who complained, and called Evelyn Calcobrini's treatment "disgraceful" and "really dreadful".

The fact that one third of immigration appeals are successful rather undermines the confident claim that it can be assumed that this young woman "would not be refused entry and sent back without good reason".


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Jim Lad
Date: 29 Jun 09 - 05:56 AM

There is absolutely nothing new about artists being refused entry or forced to cancel gigs in various countries. She's not the first and certainly won't be the last.
Seems to me the Beatles had to rent a house on the Canadian/American border just to sit in the same room and that was long before Sep 11.
Not knowing is not an excuse.
Musicians Unions are pretty good at keeping the paperwork straight for international gigs. About all they are good for really.
Or you could get yourself a manager........


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Arnie
Date: 29 Jun 09 - 10:47 AM

McGrath - I hear what you are saying but the Plaid Cymru MP's are paid to represent their constituents and may not be the most objective of complainants. I have seen many complaints from MP's supporting the most hopeless of immigration cases. Whatever the personal view of an MP, most of them find it easier to write a letter of complaint backing their constituent and then show said constituent the reply from the Minister's Private Office turning down their reps - but they can tell the constituent that at least they tried. As the unfortunate Patagonian girl's case went to Minister level, as it would need to with an MP's complaint, the Border Agency would have had good, solid evidence that some abuse of the rules was planned. A Ministerial submission would be required in this case and you need to be very sure of your case before doing that! As regards a third of appeals being granted, that stat refers mainly to visa refusals at our overseas missions.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Gervase
Date: 29 Jun 09 - 10:54 AM

Outside of a Royal Prince - WHO ? ? ? would want to learn Welch?

Me, for one.
And it's Welsh, not Welch. Maybe you should brush up one your English before posting.
Welsh is a first langauge in some parts of Patagonia, where some 20,000 people class themselves as Welsh-Argentine. More info here.


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: GUEST,Adrian
Date: 29 Jun 09 - 04:10 PM

Specialists T&S Immigration Services Ltd maintain a very informative and helpful site - including a blog @ T&S Immigration - News Update

Here's a quick jump to the ending of the latest News Update:

"You've got to laugh or you'd cry
I have to laugh when I see UKBA say that they have 'simplified' the immigration system and that it's now 'very clear'. Workers extending their stay in the UK now have to complete a 57-page application form (the old one was 14 pages). Anyone needing entry clearance now has to complete 2 new visa forms running to 16 pages, rather than the old 1 form with 5 pages.

If UKBA's own officers don't know the rules how is a drummer supposed to cope?"


And, here's the full report, well-worth reading:


"NEWS UPDATE Friday June 5th 2009 – more babbling and advice from the immigration sage (all related to the entertainment sector under the new UK Immigration System)

I was going to start this update by saying that our immigration officers at most air, sea and train ports seem finally able to use and understand the new system.

However, after last weekend I have scrapped that and revised the text of this update. I will go as far as to say this: "The immigration system, as it stands, is not fit for purpose – tier 5 is being woefully implemented and UKBA don't have a clue what they're doing".

Far too often we are hearing of immigration officers who simply don't know how to deal with Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship, UKBA officials who give sponsors bad advice, staff at our consulates overseas telling people to apply for the wrong types of visa, visa applications being refused because they're simply too complicated to understand – it often seems as though we are the only ones who know what we're doing.

Everyone is rightly still moaning about the need for sponsors to keep copies of entry stamps for each UK entry a band / crew makes. But there's no point moaning to us about this – you're preaching to the converted. We've been saying the same thing since before the PBS was even introduced. UKBA keep banging on about how they will enforce the rules and come down hard on sponsors who don't comply – this from an organisation which for several years employed illegal immigrants as cleaners. But their own staff don't even KNOW the rules. Here are just a few examples (names withheld to protect the innocent):

1) Famous recording artist and entourage stopped at Heathrow and asked for bank statements. They held valid Certificates of Sponsorship issued by an A-rated sponsor who had ticked the box to confirm that they had sufficient funds. The half-wit officer said "the rules clearly state you need to be able to prove you have £800". He forgot to read the next line in the rules which says this can be done by the A-rated sponsor ticking the box. He eventually agreed to admit them but said they would never be allowed back to the UK unless they held bank statements. This is pure fantasy – the man didn't know his arse from his elbow. He needs to watch his back because we're gunning for him. As this system has been in place for 6 months now there is simply no excuse for this level of downright buffoonery.
2) Entry Clearance officers at our consulate in New York still issuing entry visas with the wrong expiry date. All Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship must be used within 3 months. This is confusingly stated as the 'expiry date' on the CoS, but it is actually just the date by which it should be first used. UKBA were daft in terming this as an expiry date and that has led to countless people being granted visas which are too short to cover the work they have been approved to do. We need the Arts & Entertainment Taskforce to get this wording removed from the CoS because consulates still don't seem to understand. What is the point of stating work dates on Certificates if they ignore them and issue all visas for 3 months? What's the point of UKBA saying 12 months is the maximum under Tier 5 if the consulates only grant visas for 3 months? It's beyond belief.
3) Bands coming through Dublin: UKBA initially advised the industry that anyone entering the UK on a Tier 5 CoS without prior entry visa would be working here illegally if they started their tour in Dublin. This is purely because they can't be bothered to check people coming from Dublin, as it is a Common Travel Area. We queried the legality of this because if someone is allowed to perform in Dublin, and then goes on to perform in Belfast for instance, which is within the Common Travel Area (no passport control), how can their immigration status suddenly change? That flummoxed them! They now say that the band should seek an immigration officer to stamp their passports when they come from Dublin. That would seem to be a solution, BUT we have contacted 2 Chief Immigration Officers, at Belfast and Glasgow, and they both said they have a policy of NOT stamping people coming from Dublin – even if you ask to be stamped. This clearly shows the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

We have lost count of the number of band and crew personnel who have been landed on the wrong status or given a hard time by officers who obviously lacked proper training. It is nothing short of a bloody disgrace – this system was planned for 5 years and has been in place for 6 months. It should have worked from the start; why is it STILL not working? Why are we busting our b%%%s to do the right thing when, all around us, 'officials' are screwing up?

On a lighter note, we have not had any repetition of the UKBA payment problems or (touch wood) the problem where the work address was randomly being switched when inputting individuals to the SMS. Hopefully this means those errors have been rectified. Small mercies……

A REMINDER – DON'T ISSUE C.O.S. TO BANDS YOU'RE NOT INVOLVED WITH
Clients are reminded not to issue certificates for artists that you are not actually booking or promoting. Bands who use non-EU booking agents or whose UK contacts are not licensed sponsors are in a tough spot, through no fault of their own. But before you agree to act as their sponsor you need to weigh up whether it's worth it – UKBA will ask YOU for copies of the entry stamps (and possibly more), and HMRC may come to YOU for any tax on what that band earned here. So only sponsor bands you are actually contractually committed to. In the odd circumstance where a band without a sponsor is opening up for one of your acts you might consider acting as their sponsor if all other avenues have been exhausted but you should be aware that UKBA's systems do not properly allow for this or understand it, so you are taking a bit of a risk. Naturally UKBA would say it's illegal to do it, so you need to use common sense and caution.

"ENTERTAINER VISITOR" VISAS – there already seems to be some confusion at consulates and at UKBA about the 'entertainer visitor' route into the UK. Let's be clear here – this is simply a name tag they've hung on a bag of the old permit-free routes. It's nothing new. It covers the permit-free festivals, interviews, unpaid gigs for charity, amateur church choir performances etc. It does NOT cover professional bands doing normal tours (paid or unpaid). Therefore the consulate who recently told a US band they did not need Certificates of Sponsorship to tour here unless they'd be making a profit were talking out of their backsides, and that band is lucky they also consulted us before jumping on a plane. Failure to have the right paperwork to tour here can now result in not just a refusal of entry but also a 5-year UK travel ban. If a band applies for entertainer visitor visas remember they need to prove they have funds, and the daft rule about showing a bank statement with at least £800 in it over the last 3 months applies. While we're on that subject, can we please push the Arts & Entertainment Taskforce to get that dropped – denying visas to a venerable bunch of Moroccan musicians who have been here many times before does no-one any favours and just makes you look daft!

The new Permit-free festivals list has just been released and seems to have been significantly trimmed down from previous years. Here is a summary of which music events are permit-free this year (just the main ones, this is not an exhaustive list):
Barbican Festivals, BBC Proms (does not specify if this covers Electric Proms too), Brighton Festival (but NOT the Great Escape), Cambridge Folk Fest, Celtic Connections, Download, Edinburgh Fest & Fringe, Glastonbury, Leeds & Reading, La Linea Latin Music Fest, Meltdown, The Big Chill, T in the Park, V Festivals, WOMAD and Zee.

U.K.B.A. SPONSOR LICENSING 'COMPLIANCE' VISITS – oh, dear:
We've heard from several clients that have been visited by UKBA officers wanting to check their 'compliance systems' for the new immigration system. There is a lot of confusion and misinformation on this subject (especially from UKBA's own staff, who seem clueless about the entertainment sector). We have taken to giving clients information sheets about which sections of the UKBA Compliance system refer to them and which don't. They can show these to visiting officers if those officers ask questions beyond their remit. This sheet was tested in action yesterday by a client and he found it very useful for cutting through the nonsense the Visiting Officer was talking.

It is regrettable that these Visiting Officers seem to think that promoters, booking agencies and record labels 'hire' bands to tour here by popping down to the Job Centre and putting an ad in the window; "Wanted – Popular rock band to play London O2 Arena; must be Metallica". It's so gormless that, frankly, it's insulting. And don't let them tell you that 1 certificate covers a whole band travel party either – some of them are still labouring under this belief despite us proving it was false last October.

Let's hope UKBA get a clue and stop treating the majority of the entertainment sector like they're bringing in dodgy immigrants who are going to live here and claim benefits.

Using the Sponsor Management System: some recent discoveries –
Because we use the SMS every day, for several different clients, we are making new discoveries all the time. Here are some recent findings –
1) It IS possible for dates on CoS to overlap as long as the first CoS was 'used'. This is contrary to what UKBA told us (they said it was never possible for the work dates on 2 CoS to overlap).
2) It is not possible to withdraw a CoS within the online System if that CoS has been used. By 'used' we mean the holder entered with it in the correct manner and it was logged by an Immigration Officer (which actually only seems to happen in about 50 percent of cases).
3) Switching from work permit holder into Tier 2: Although the guidance notes say that the person will be granted up to the full 5 years, in reality it is not possible to assign a Tier 2 CoS for longer than 3 years. This means that someone who, for instance, has just finished their first 1-year work permit, would need 2 extensions under Tier 2 instead of the 1 UKBA led us to believe.
4) Companies need to remember not to have multiple people logging in to the SMS under one ID. This results in many system errors. Each user needs their own ID and password.
5) If a band member is unlucky enough to need entry clearance (such as a Jamaican, Moroccan etc) and they get refused on a technicality, their CoS shows up as 'used' so it cannot then be withdrawn and re-issued. This is a problem UKBA need to address. There are FAR too many instances of entry clearance being refused on technicalities since the PBS was introduced.

Why am I so set against entry clearance?
When the Points Based System was first conceived the plan was that all non-EU bands would have to get entry clearance, just like a doctor does if they plan to come and live here. The trouble is that entry clearance is a process fraught with problems. UKBA claimed entry clearance would be a 24-hour process – I told them they were liars. Eventually, after 3 years of struggling, they dropped the requirement for most bands. The unfortunates who DO need entry clearance are regularly having to wait several weeks (not 1 day, as claimed) and Entry Clearance Officers (unlike our Immigration Officers at the ports) seem intent to seek reasons to refuse applications. The number of technical refusals has rocketed since PBS was introduced (a 'simpler' system resulting in more people completing the wrong forms and providing the wrong support docs, and more mistakes by officers – how can that be?).
If entry clearance had been mandatory for American, Canadian, Australian bands etc it would already have resulted in hundreds of cancelled gigs this year.

You've got to laugh or you'd cry
I have to laugh when I see UKBA say that they have 'simplified' the immigration system and that it's now 'very clear'. Workers extending their stay in the UK now have to complete a 57-page application form (the old one was 14 pages). Anyone needing entry clearance now has to complete 2 new visa forms running to 16 pages, rather than the old 1 form with 5 pages.

If UKBA's own officers don't know the rules how is a drummer supposed to cope?

Steve"


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jun 09 - 04:30 PM

As the unfortunate Patagonian girl's case went to Minister level...

On a Bank Holiday?


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Subject: RE: Canadian singer Allison Crowe refused entry to UK
From: Arnie
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 05:57 AM

Yes, the Minister's Private Office is even open on a Bank Holiday. The Minister does not answer MP representations personally - a response is prepared by some minion but requires the Minister's signature so goes into the red box.


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