House of Lords report expresses concern for cultural sector post-Brexit

The report Brexit: Movement of People in the Cultural Sector, is based on evidence from a number of national cultural organisations including Arts Council England and the Musicians Union. The joint submission by the National Museums Directors’ Council and the Museums Association speaks of “severe concerns” and suggests that more restrictive migration systems for EU citizens “could threaten the international status of the UK’s world-class institutions”.

The key findings highlighted in the report are:

  • The cultural sector makes a profoundly important contribution to the UK's society and economy, and to its international image and influence. Cultural sector workers are highly mobile, and have thrived on collaboration with people from all over the world.
  • The report argues that the cultural sector urgently needs more clarity on free movement post-Brexit. The Government wishes to "take back control" of the UK's borders by ending the free movement of persons. However, by the time of writing, it had provided little detail about what this would mean in practice.
  • Despite the lack of detail about the Government's plans, the Committee suggests that future immigration from the EU to the UK will be shaped by one of two broad imperatives. The UK immigration system will either give preferential treatment to EU27 citizens, or treat them in the same way as people from third countries.
  • The Committee recommends that the Government be flexible. The UK's negotiators must recognise that any restrictions on EU citizens wishing to enter the UK may be matched by restrictions on UK workers in the EU. A decline in skilled workers from the EU would not only damage the UK's cultural sector, but also represent a significant loss to the audiences that benefit when talented people from across Europe perform in the UK.

The report calls for urgent clarity from the government on freedom of movement.

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Read the report