Grant visas to the New Collective from Georgia, so they can perform at the Flare International Festival of New Theatre in Manchester, 13-18 July 2015.
This petition had 1,675 supporters
The New Collective are a young theatre group from Tblisi in Georgia who were delighted to be selected to perform in Manchester, but who have had their visa applications rejected by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Their inability to demonstrate sufficient income in Georgia means that they have not proved that they are 'genuine visitors to the UK who intend to leave at the end [of the festival]'.
FLARE15 is a highly selective international festival celebrating the creativity and performance of young artists, and as such they need to bring artists like these to this country. Of course they come from a poorer country than ours, as most are, and have little financial security there, as young artists often do. UKVI are concerned they might want to stay in this country when they come, to become illegal economic immigrants, for a better chance of a better economic future. We know the story. Our country can’t take this risk, so they can’t come.
But they don’t want to leave Georgia and move here actually, Georgia is their home country and they want to stay there. They are artists and they want to show their art, and then they want to go home. And the Flare festival organisers want them to show it at the festival because they think it is really important work, on a global scale. Over 300 performance groups were considered from 52 different countries, and these are 1 of the 23 selected.
How can they prove that they will go home? How could anyone ever really prove that, particularly when they are young and single, with few commitments? But UKVI need proof, and that proof has to be evidence of good salaries and commitments in Georgia, and without this they can’t come.
So these artists can’t bring their performance to this country because they are young and because they are poor. They can’t be ‘genuine visitors’.
We the undersigned petition Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary, to accept letters attesting to their good character and artistic integrity in place of proof of substantial income, to help correct a situation that seems so deeply wrong.
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