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Artists visiting UK 'being treated poorly'

29th June 2011

Writers, speakers and other artists visiting the UK are being treated poorly by the country's points-based visa system, according to a number of luminaries from the arts world.

In an open letter to the Home Office, published in the Daily Telegraph, several leading literary figures including Salman Rushdie and Philip Pullman said the existing system is 'needlessly bureaucratic and intrusive' and inappropriate for short-term visits by international artists.

The letter argues that, as these visits have no impact on migration, it is unfair for artists to be subjected to the same processes as permanent or long-term migrants and they should instead be allowed to circumvent the system, in a manner similar to entertainers attending festivals.

'Our great tradition of cultural exchange is being badly damaged through the points-based system and in the long term we will suffer economically. As we approach the Cultural Olympiad's culminating year, this is a situation that must change,' the letter stated.

Other signatories of the letter, which calls for immediate change to protect the country's cultural appeal, include Sir Nicholas Hytner, Dame Antonia Fraser and Michael Morpurgo.

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