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Published
May 19, 2021
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BFC negotiates concession for models, freelancers on UK visa rules

Published
May 19, 2021

Models and freelancers in the creative industries can breath a sigh of relief regarding visa issues after a major problem for non-UK citizens working in Britain temporarily appears to have been solved.


Image: British Fashion Council


A new ‘stop-the-clock’ mechanism on the T5 (Temporary Worker) Creative and Sporting visa has been introduced following negotiations between The British Fashion Council (BFC), the British Fashion Model Agents Association (BFMA), and the Home Office (with the support of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) to secure a change to the Immigration Rules.

This will allow creative workers to travel in and out of the UK without that time counting towards the 14-day engagement rule. This means international talent now has the right to come to the UK for London Fashion Week and then travel outside for work without their right to work being cancelled. It was made effective on 6 April.

Under the updated agreement, the overall length of the migrant’s visa will not be extended, with the calculation between engagements only counting for time spent within the UK.

BFC chief executive Caroline Rush said: “This change is hugely important to supporting the competitiveness of the UK and making our country more accessible to international models and creative talent. 

“We are delighted that the work we have done on securing it will positively impact other creative British industries. The UK and London are international fashion and creative hubs and this arrangement better reflects the nature of the community and sectors that work there”.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added: "The international influence of the UK's fashion sector cannot be overstated, with London Fashion Week marking a seminal moment in the fashion calendar. I am pleased that we have taken additional steps to ensure talented creatives from across the world can come to the UK for work projects more easily". 

Under the previous system, the T5 visa could be used by creative professionals to work at multiple events for up to one year with no more than 14 days between each individual job. If more than 14 days had passed between engagements in the UK, the worker’s permission to work was cancelled and a new visa application had to be made. It was the duty of the licensed visa sponsor to ensure that this timeframe was not breached. 

This change comes further to the creation of the Tier 5 Models Code of Practice that was created with the BFMA, the Home Office and the DCMS, that provides guidance to UK Visa Sponsors on how to bring models into the UK under the Temporary Visa creative route in 2018.

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