Event organisers of a book festival in Scotland revealed that authors from Africa and Middle East who planned to attend the festival this weekend, has had their visa applications denied.
Nick Barley, Edinburgh International Book Festival Director, has told The Guardian that this ‘humiliating’ application process will deter writers and damage cultural life in UK.
He said: “We’ve had to draw on the help of MPs, MSPs, ambassadors and senior people in the British Council and Home Office to overturn visa decisions that looked set to be rejected.
“We’ve had so many problems with visas, we’ve realised it is systematic.
“This is so serious. We want to talk about it and resolve it, not just for [this festival], but for cultural organisations UK-wide. The amount of energy, money and time that has gone into this is problematic. There needs to be a fix.”
According to The Guardian, a permit-free festival visitor visa is available to artists appearing at 45 approved cultural events, including Womad and the Edinburgh Fringe, which means they do not require a certificate of sponsorship and only have to show bank balances for three months. However, Edinburgh Book Festival is not on the list.