19 May 2021

The British Fashion Council (BFC) is pleased to announce that it worked 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) to secure a change to the Immigration Rules, introducing a ‘stop-the-clock’ mechanism on the T5 (Temporary Worker) Creative and Sporting visa used by models and freelancers in the creative industries. This will allow creative workers to travel in and out of the UK without that time counting towards the 14-day engagement rule, meaning international talent now have the right to come to the UK for London Fashion Week and then travel outside for work without their right to work being cancelled. This change has come into effect as of 6th April 2021.

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.

Caroline Rush, Chief Executive BFC said: “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.”

Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary said: "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.

This change comes further to the creation of the Tier 5 Models Code of Practice that was created with the BFMA, Home Office and DCMS, that provides guidance to UK Visa Sponsors on how to bring models into the UK under the Temporary Visa creative route in 2018. The Code of Practice can be found here.

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