Brexit: what it means for you

The UK voted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016.

The UK has been granted a flexible extension period until Thursday 31 October for passing the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union in Parliament. During this extension period, until Thursday 31 October, your right to work in the EU remains the same.

On Wednesday 24 July, Boris Johnson replaced Theresa May as the UK's new Prime Minister and has formed a new ministerial cabinet.

However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the possibility of the UK leaving the EU with a no-deal Brexit on Thursday 31 October.

Therefore, it is essential for you to think carefully about what Brexit could mean for your work, especially if you travel regularly to the EU27/EEA.

While your rights as an EU citizen currently remain unchanged, large organisations, micro-businesses and freelancers are all making preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

If we exit the EU without a deal in place, the current freedom of movement rules will end, meaning that it will be more expensive and more complicated for musicians and their instruments to cross borders. Pre-existing contracts with EU partners will need to be reviewed, as pieces of legislation could cease to apply after Brexit, meanings of definitions and terminology used in contracts might change and there may be financial consequences arising from fluctuations in currency, as well as new costs.

We have calculated that musicians who travel to the EU27/EEA and carry an instrument may incur additional costs of up to £1,000 per year in a no-deal Brexit.

Musicians may be required to purchase carnets – temporary international customs documents that allow instruments and sound equipment to move temporarily outside the UK – which cost in the region of £500-700, depending on the value of the goods. It is currently possible to take instruments to countries in the EU for free and purchasing an ATA Carnet is a significant extra cost to be forced upon musicians and will become a huge barrier for many musicians touring the EU27/EEA.

Musicians may also face numerous additional costs including:

  • Private medical insurance, which would become essential in a no-deal Brexit as EHIC provision would cease, would set a musician without a pre-existing medical condition back around £70 per year, but it could be as high as £320 for a musician with a pre-existing medical condition.
  • Musical Instrument Certificates, which are only required for instruments containing endangered species according to CITES (including ivory, rosewood, tortoiseshell) are currently free but are set to incur a charge in 2020 (amount unknown). Examples: some violin bows contain ivory and some guitars contain rosewood.
  • Musicians who drive to the continent will need to purchase an International Driving Permit costing £5.50.
  • If A1 forms become obsolete on 1 November, musicians must also ensure that they are not liable for double deductions of social security payments in other EU countries by contacting the relevant EU social security institution to check.
  • If visas are introduced to work in the EU27/EEA, this is likely to cause considerable financial and administrative burden to musicians.

In the articles below, we look at these issues in greater detail to help you understand how your work may be affected and to help you create contingency plans.

For further information, please read the Government's advice on the UK exiting the EU, which covers various topics.

Updated 27 August 2019.

Northern Ireland and no-deal Brexit

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Read our advice about the complications that could face members travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for work.

Added September 2019

No-deal Brexit: a musician’s guide to travelling in the EU27

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In the event of a no-deal Brexit, travel between the UK and the EU27 will become more complex. Read our advice so that you are prepared.

Updated September 2019

No-deal scenario planning – 1 November 2019

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Potential scenarios for musicians travelling in the EU27/EEA in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

No-deal and social security contributions in an EU/EAA State

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What you should know about social security contributions if there's no-deal

Updated August 2019

Travelling to the EU for work if there is no-deal

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What are your rights for working in the EU if there's no-deal?

Updated August 2019

CITES if there is no-deal

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Our advice for travelling with instruments if there's no-deal.

Updated August 2019

EEA citizens arriving in the UK in the event of a no-deal

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What are the rights of EEA citizens if the UK leaves without a deal?

Updated August 2019

Settlement scheme for EU nationals after Brexit

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What should you do if you are an EU national and wish to stay in the UK after Brexit.

Updated August 2019

No-deal Brexit: instruments in transit

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Read our advice for transporting instruments into the EU, if there's no-deal.

Updated August 2019

Brexit and Immigration: No-deal policy

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Read Fragomen Law Firm's advice on Brexit and changes to immigration.

No-deal Brexit: transport, insurance, passports and mobile phones

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What travel checks should you make, before travelling to the EU, if there's a no-deal Brexit?

Updated August 2019

Brexit and contracts

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How to Brexit-proof future or existing contracts with EU organisations.

Updated August 2019

​Rare and endangered materials in musical instruments: CITES and the rules for musicians

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Brexit essentials kit for ISM members

From Visas to car hire, accommodation to advice, we've highlighted a range of member services to help you get organised and save money when you're working in the UK, Europe and beyond.

Updated August 2019

Recent ISM Brexit statements

Save Music campaign

The ISM's Save Music campaign is calling for freedom of movement to be maintained for musicians after Brexit, or the introduction of a two-year working visa. Watch and share the video below, and visit the website to find out more and sign up as a campaign supporter.

ISM Brexit research

Listen to our Brexit podcasts

We are joined by two musicians who share their personal experiences as travelling musicians and they tell us how Brexit has already impacted their work. We also hear the headline findings from our Impact of Brexit on musicians report.

We spoke to Annabella Coldrick Chief Executive of the Music Managers Forum (MMF) about the impact of Brexit on the music industry, specifically from the Music Managers perspective and the possible issues touring artists and the industry will face.