New Order Join Calls for US Government to Drop Proposed Visa Fee Increases
"For a new band, a 250 percent increase in visa costs, on top of all the other financial pressures facing artists right now, might be the final nail in the coffin for touring"
Published Mar 17, 2023The US Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) plans to increase the costs of short-term work visas by over 200 percent, making touring much more expensive for international musicians, were brought to our attention in early February.
Since then, a UK initiative called Let the Music Move has been adapted from its original 2021 campaign (to reduce post-Brexit touring costs and red tape for UK artists on tour in the Europe) to aid in dissuading the government from making the changes — and New Order are its latest backers, NME reports.
Following their headline performance at SXSW in Austin, TX, earlier this week, the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees issued a statement criticizing the proposed visa cost increases.
"The influence of New York club culture has been pivotal to the evolution of New Order, from our initial shows at legendary long-lost venues like Tier 3, Hurrah and the Peppermint Lounge to our recent arena tour with the Pet Shop Boys," the Manchester group said.
They continued, "Being able to perform to North American audiences has been absolutely crucial to us as a band. It's also why we share the concerns of musicians around the world with these proposed visa increases for international artists. For a new band, a 250 percent increase in visa costs, on top of all the other financial pressures facing artists right now, might be the final nail in the coffin for touring."
"Through our support of the #LetTheMusicMove campaign, we want the US Government to rethink these policy changes and look to alternative measures that encourage greater musical exchange, not less," New Order added.
Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive at the Music Managers Forum, and David Martin, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition, said, "We are hugely grateful to New Order for their backing of the #LetTheMusicMove campaign to stop these hugely damaging proposals."
"That they have done so at SXSW is particularly pertinent," they ironically noted, since artists are also campaigning for fair pay from SXSW.
"Excluding American acts, Britain has the biggest delegation of artists performing at official SXSW showcases," Coldrick and Martin added. "It is precisely these kinds of artists that will be forced to cancel their US touring plans if the DHS proposals come into effect."
In an initial proposal, the DHS put in a bid to increase the application fees for O visa petitions by 260 percent, from $460 USD to $1,655. Likewise, fees for P visas (including P-2) would inflate by 251 percent, from $460 to $1,615, while fees for "premium processing" of visa requests would remain $2,500.
Although numerous musicians and organizations have spoken out against the proposed changes, the government has claimed that these increased costs are necessary with the current demand and insufficient US Citizenship and Immigration department staff.