The Government Won’t Increase Visa Costs for Touring Musicians — For Now
Earlier this year, plans to increase visas for international artists coming into the U.S. by more than 250% caused a general uproar among musicians and their fans. It was already becoming difficult for bands to make money out on the road, but this proposal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could have been the straw that broke the roadie’s back.
According to the DHS’ written proposal, the O visa for longer-term work within the U.S. would go from $460 to $1,655, while the latter visa option would go from $460 to $1,615 Those increases mark a 260% and 251% increase, respectively. Such hikes had artists like Municipal Waste’s Tony Foresta lambasting the plan, calling it a way that the government was “punishing poor people.”
Well, as it turns out, that’s not going to happen. At least not yet. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the increases won’t go into effect until at least next March. Not only that, but they’re thinking of lowering the proposed rate.
Speaking on the issue was Congressman Maxwell Alejandro, the first Gen Z member of Congress and stanch opponent to the proposed hikes. As a long-time opponent of the proposal, they said it was a good move to hold off on it for now.
“USCIS’s decision to delay their proposed rate hikes and go back to the drawing board is the right move to support our nation’s small business community and for the hundreds of thousands of traveling artists who are a critical part of our local economy.”
While a lot of the worry was on how this would affect artists, the USCIS said it would only affect U.S. promoters, concert organizers, and record labels. And while that would certainly be better for the artists, it doesn’t take much thinking to realize that just means promoters would be less inclined to have international acts come over.