Allison Crowe was forced to cancel the first two dates of her European tour in Edinburgh and London this weekend after immigration officials at Gatwick airport locked up the Canadian singer-songwriter and her two bandmates after falling foul of new laws for people in the creative sector who travel to the UK for work. Implemented in November 2008, the Certificate of Sponsorship is a new measure that requires artists to obtain a unique reference number from at least one of the venues at which they’ll be performing. Non-EU visitors must provide biometric data, fingerprint scans and a digital photograph in order to acquire this reference number, which they must then show upon entering the country or face deportation.
Speaking to CBC News, an obviously upset Crowe told the reporter that “…they fingerprinted and photographed us and three hours later, roughly, trucked us over in a paddywagon to another building. And that’s where we were kept for the remainder of the day, where we were interrogated and searched.” She also said that her passport was stamped “barred from entry” by officials. Neither of the UK venues were aware of the new rules. The band were released after six hours but were sent all the way back to Canada only to return to mainland Europe to continue the tour in Germany, despite one immigration official allegedly telling Allison that she could face problems with working in Europe for the rest of her career.
Allison’s manager Adrian du Plessis told the Telegraph: “It’s crazy that Allison has the wear the scarlet letter for the rest of her days simply because she came to Britain to perform and didn’t know about some strict new legislation. This will clearly influence the cultural traffic to this country but there’s also a human element – Allison is a Commonwealth citizen who did nothing wrong but was interrogated and treated like a criminal.”
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