London: Author Salman Rushdie and over 100 others of the likes of Hanif Kureishi and Hari Kunzru from the world of writing and art have criticised Britain's points-based immigration system for non-EU artists, terming it "needlessly bureaucratic and intrusive".
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 120 writers and artists have criticised the points-based visa system as "inappropriate for short-term visits by artists". Besides Rushdie, signatories to the letter include Kureishi, Kunzru, Ruth Padel, Kamila Shamsie, Michael Morpurgo, Anita Sethi and Simon Singh. They said: "Writers and performers who have long been welcomed by Britain now find that they are required to undergo a visa application process that is needlessly bureaucratic and intrusive". "Non-European Union artists wishing to enter the country have been treated poorly, either through the application process or at entry points".
The signatories said that acclaimed artists, such as the Cannes Palme d'Or-winning director Abbas Kiarostami, and Grigory Sokolov, one of the world's great concert pianists, had been dissuaded from future visits. The letter said: "The 'licensed sponsors' system places a burden on arts organisations, many of which cannot afford the cost or cope with the administrative burden. Nor do they wish to be required (or are in many cases able) to 'monitor' the artists they invite". It said as short-term visits by artists have no impact on migration, there is no need to administer their entry via the points-based system.