Creatives from overseas vital, government told

The UK’s policymakers must prioritise making it easier for non-EU creatives - including visual effects artists, programmers and dancers - to enter the country to work.

Innovation group Nesta also says that a failure by policymakers to entice such ‘international talent’ could lead to the success of Britain’s creative sectors becoming unsustainable.

The rub is that some of the sectors, notably computing, heritage and culture, are more reliant on workers from outside the EU than sectors in the wider economy, Nesta says in its report ‘Skilled Migration and the UK's Creative Industries.’

But is not just workers from beyond the continent who are supporting the creative industry. In fact, 6.1 per cent of the UK’s creative workforce are EU nationals (compared with 5 per cent who are non-EU nationals).

“Uncertainty surrounding EU migration is a wake-up call for policymakers,” Nesta said, referring to the UK’s Brexit decision in June. “[They] must act to ensure a pipeline of international talent for the creative industries.”

As to the steps policymakers should take, Nesta found that migrants (from outside Europe) face “high” visa costs and “strenuous” professional requirements to secure creative posts in Britain.

The current migration system also neglects to take account of the creative economy’s needs, recognises the report, and while routes into the country from overseas exist, they are “complex.”

Moreover, as the picture for European talent already in the UK’s creative industries is “unclear”, much to the concern of sectors using it significantly like advertising, design and publishing, it is therefore “more important” that creative hirers are able to take on skilled talent from outside Europe, the report says.

“Now, more than ever, policymakers will need to ensure that creative businesses can recruit internationally - from outside of the EU as well as from inside - in order to sustain their success.,” said Nesta’s Hasan Bakhshi.

“We hope that the government more generally will take heed of Creative Industries Minister, Matt Hancock’s recent advice that the sector should be given a starring role in the upcoming industrial strategy.”

Bakhshi’s comments follow the previous government’s decision to feature 11 industries in its industrial strategy in 2014, but omit the creative industry despite its then-achievement of surpassing average industry growth by 25 times.

Editor’s Note: Related Reading –

Creative industry’s Brexit plan features freelancers

Government reassures creatives in wake of Brexit

Freelancers’ body hands PM six-point Brexit plan


12th September 2016

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