Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Further memorandum from Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

  My involvement with the British Embassies in the Eastern European countries initially starts with a request from the various group leaders to send a list of competitors to the Embassy concerned so that the necessary Visas can be issued. This list is in fact supplied by the group themselves which we simply pass forward.

  In spite of our assertions to submit their Visa applications early, many groups leave it until the last minute and then problems to occur in as much that certain members within the group for whatever reason are not allowed Visas. This prompts the group to send urgent e-mails highlighting the problem and I in turn telephone the Embassies concerned in the knowledge that I cannot really affect any change in their decision. The group always indicate that these individuals are key members of the group and without them they will be unable to travel and as a result we have last-minute withdrawals for this reason.

  Generally speaking the Embassies are very courteous and I acknowledge that they have a job to do in vetting individual members in the groups which can be a very difficult job. However, from my experience I note that there is a tendency for single people on low income without any dependents to be refused Visas and there is little I can do in this regard to make the Embassies change their mind. From an Eisteddfod point of view this is very disappointing in as much that by this time the Hospitality Committee will have arranged accommodation and I may well have arranged for coach transport from the various airports which has to be cancelled. It also upsets the timings of the groups on stage in various competitions and should they have been invited to take part in a concert it means last-minute rearrangements of the evening performance.

Keith Hall
Competitors' Liaison Officer

16 January 2001

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