Tuesday (8/4) on the website for The Stage (U.K.), Alistair Smith writes, “Arts leaders have welcomed a report by the Home Affairs Select Committee which recommends a raft of changes to the controversial points-based visa system, including the introduction of a fast track process, so that performers can enter the country at short notice in ‘exceptional emergency cases.’ Organisations including the Royal Opera House have previously complained that new visa regulations mean it is impossible for the company to draft in last-minute replacements from abroad if a leading artist, such as an opera singer, is taken ill before a performance. … Meanwhile, venues including the Barbican Centre have complained that performers in certain parts of the world, especially Africa, are finding it cumbersome and expensive to obtain visas because there are not enough biometric collection points and artists are being forced to travel for up to three days to make an application. … To address these concerns the committee has called for a new emergency exemption to be introduced so that visas can be fast-tracked through within 24 hours.”

Posted August 6, 2009