EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Foreign authors invited to Edinburgh to appear in the world’s biggest arts festival are being put off by a British visa process which organizers say is humiliating and Kafkaesque.
FILE PHOTO: Performers from the Fourth Monkey Theatre Group sing in the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland August 10, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir
The complexity of getting permission to visit Britain risks damaging its cultural reputation, organizers say, and is likely to worsen once Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019.
“Applying for visas seems to have become incredibly complicated this year, almost Kafkaesque in complexity,” said Nick Barley, Edinburgh International Book Festival director.
“Unless things change now, after Brexit it will simply get worse,” he added. Around a dozen authors invited had had difficulties and most had only been resolved after a lengthy, complex process.
The desire to curb immigration was a key reason Britons voted to leave the EU in 2016, and Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to end unrestricted free movement of EU citizens to Britain after the country leaves the bloc in March 2019.
Stricter rules on immigration requirements for those entering Britain from outside the EU have also become evident in recent months. The Home Secretary resigned earlier this year after an outcry about immigrants wrongly declared illegal decades after being invited to plug post-War labour shortfalls.
In July the