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CBI: Overseas talent helps fuel Britain's creative excellence

The UK’s future migration system with the EU post-Brexit must continue to allow the creative industries to thrive. 

Speaking to an audience of industry leaders, hosted by Dentons’ Media and Entertainment Partner Ingrid Silver, Carolyn will praise the UK’s reputation as the world’s creative centre. She will say that the sector’s positive economic and cultural impact plays a vital role promoting the UK to the rest of the world. 

As new opportunities open up in both established and emerging markets post-Brexit, Carolyn will outline how important it is that a new migration system cements the UK’s global reputation for this industry.

On the creative industries, Carolyn will say:

“Britain is synonymous with outstanding creative achievement and there is no richer creative heritage anywhere in the world.

“The sector supports almost 2 million jobs, contributes over £87 billion to the UK economy and was responsible for exporting almost £20 billion of services in 2014 - over 40% of which went to the EU.

“UK culture is an international success story and an absolutely vital driver of growth and soft power. But the UK still hasn’t reached its creative peak. UK artists, architects and advertisers continue to innovate at an unprecedented rate.

“It is in the UK’s best interest to maintain this growth by creating an environment in which the sector can continue to thrive, export and attract inward investment.  We need a Brexit that works for business, for Britain and for the creative sector.”

On migration and the creative industries, Carolyn will say:

“Many international firms base themselves here and they do this, in part, because they’re able to source skills from across Europe. The creative industries are no different and recruit European citizens at a higher rate than the economy as a whole.  Therefore the post-Brexit environment must maintain the pipeline of talent that has done so much to fuel Britain’s creative fires.

“And more widely, business needs certainty on what immigration system the Government has in mind post-Brexit. The longer the uncertainty, the greater the impact on the economy will be.  It’s welcome that the Government intends to consult with business over the summer on this system, but soon after we need to see more detail.”

On what a future migration system should consider, Carolyn will say:

“What might our future immigration system look like? Well, it’ll should have three components.  First, it should grant current overseas employees the right to stay in the UK. We must remove the current uncertainty that is causing some skilled people to consider leaving these shores.

“Second, it should allow an element of non-graduate migration. It’s worth noting that mid-skilled creatives, including artists and musicians, often lack traditional evidence of expertise such as university degrees.  They might rely on a portfolio of work, or on self-taught mastery of an instrument. So we need a flexible system that recognises the value of these people to the sector and the wider economy.

“And third, it should include provision for highly skilled roles, giving us access to the ‘best of the best’ across the world. There’s already a shortage, for example, of visual effects and software engineers. Imposing the system currently applied to migrants from outside of the EU would be a bitter blow to the sector.

“Say you’re in a small theatre company in London. Without the right system, you might suddenly need a working visa to tour Europe and the additional paperwork could make European venues less likely to support you.  That is the reality of ‘no deal’ and it’s so important we keep talking about it. 

“An immigration system that reflects all these realities would do much to maintain the position of the UK’s creative sector.”

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