The UK Border Agency has been accused of harming London’s music scene by refusing to issue visas to artists.
According to the Evening Standard, two performances by Pakistani musicians Sachal Jazz Ensemble that were due to take place at the city’s Kings Place venue last week had to be pulled because one of the six musicians was refused a visa.
“We are finding it very difficult to obtain visas. I haven’t faced these delays before, this has been the worst,” the venue’s promoter Jay Visvadeva told the newspaper.
“Six professional musicians who travel the world constantly should have a clean application,” he added. “We had no issues with visas last year. The Border Agency are the culprits. They are heavy-handed especially with people from the Indian subcontinent.”
Tougher criteria for visas were introduced five years ago.
In October, Turkish and Syrian ensemble Ensemble Al-Kindi, had to pull gigs in London and Cardiff after five musicians were refused entry into the country.
A Home Office spokesman said: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with immigration rules.”