stop the clock!
Above image: Backstage, Erdem SS21
With the UK’s departure from the European Union, the fashion industry was among those most affected by new immigration rules. Now, the British Fashion Council (BFC) have announced changes to the T5 (Temporary Worker) Creative and Sporting visas that ensures models, freelancers and other industry creatives will continue to be granted access in and out of the UK.
Working together with the British Fashion Model Agents Association (BFMA), the Home office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the BFC’s announcement is crucial to the future health of British fashion. Under the previous rules that were first set out in 2018, workers on T5 visas were allowed to work at multiple events for up to one year with no more than fourteen days between each job. If this timeframe was breached, permission to work would be cancelled and a new visa application was required. These regulations proved hugely challenging for the sector, which largely depends on creative talent working across Europe, with multiple projects running concurrently both in and outside of the UK.
The new agreement sees the introduction of a so-called stop-the-clock mechanism, effectively allowing workers to travel in and out of the UK without that time counting towards the fourteen-day rule. This means anyone working in the UK no longer has to fit a job abroad within the fourteen day period and the clock will only start running again once you’re back in the UK. It’s a huge win for the likes of London Fashion Week, for whom the previous system was clearly untenable, and will hopefully ensure the continued international collaboration that these events embody.
“This change is hugely important to supporting the competitiveness of the UK and making our country more accessible to international models and creative talent,” said the BFC’s chief executive Caroline Rush. “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.”