JM | Mar 2, 2023

Foreign ministry still advocating EU touring visas for entertainers

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade.

Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, says the Government is continuing its efforts to advocate for special visas for entertainers to be accommodated by the European market.

Under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), the ministry has been engaging in bilateral meetings concerning the issue.

The minister provided the update during Wednesday’s (March 1) sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, which was reviewing the 2023-2024 Estimates of Expenditure.

“We are still advocating for accommodation by these special visas [such as] the touring visas that we had been promised from 2019 and have not manifested,” said Johnson Smith.

European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman)

The minister said that the EU is also working to facilitate a simplified online application process for visas for the general public.

She added that the ministry is “building advocates in partner countries to take [Jamaica’s] side on these issues when they are among their EU partners”.

To facilitate further discussions, Johnson Smith is expected to visit the Home Affairs Commission of the EU in Brussels this year.

Spike in US touring visa fees

While Jamaicans are allowed special visas to tour in the United States, the recent proposal from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), made last month, indicates visa fees for foreign artistes are expected to be raised by more than 250 per cent.

Foreign entertainers who wish to travel to the US for touring or work purposes must have a P visa for short term stays, or an O visa for longer-term work.

The proposed spike in fees will see artistes paying between J$200,000 and J$250,000 for visas. According to the DHS, the increase is due to a high demand for the visas and insufficient staff at the Citizens Immigration Department.

During her remarks, Johnson Smith did not address the spike in fees.

Music fans and industry workers have until March 6 to oppose the move on the Federal Register website.

READ: US proposes hike in visa fees for foreign artistes


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