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British Fashion Council helps secure visa concessions

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

20 May 2021

The British Fashion Council has announced that through working closely with the British Fashion Model Agents Association (BFMA), and the Home office with the support of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) it has secured visa concessions for models and creative freelancers.

The change to the immigration rules will introduce a ‘Stop-the-Clock’ mechanism on the T5 (Temporary Worker) Creative and Sporting visa used by models and freelancers in the creative industries, enabling international talent to travel to the UK for London Fashion Week then travel outside for work without their right to work being cancelled.

Under the updated agreement, if a creative worker has an engagement outside the UK, there is no longer a requirement for this to fit within the 14-day period due to the newly introduced ‘stop-the-clock’ mechanism. The overall length of the migrant’s visa will not be extended, however, the calculation between engagements will only count for time spent within the UK.

British Fashion Council chief executive, Caroline Rush said in a statement: “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. Fashion is a truly global sector, and this will enable it to continue its vital role in the UK as we build back better from the pandemic.”

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 was to be made. It was the duty of the licensed visa sponsor to ensure that this timeframe was not breached. This was extremely challenging for the fashion industry as the nature of the sector results in many professionals having multiple projects both in and outside of the UK running concurrently.

The new measure has been applied as of April 6, 2021.