The Joy of Sets! “No Singing Waiters!”

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I wanted to continue with my wonder through the rest of the countries in Europe, or Fun with Flags as it has been quipped, that I haven’t touched on yet, re temporary working for exhibition installers and other contractors. We are in mid February and we have had no good welcoming news from any of these countries like we had from France in the first week of January so its safe to assume there is not a great deal of good news, although Portugal and Hungary seem to be more on it than most.

As I write the DCMS has admitted it has not started negotiations with any of the 27 States but has a working group to start to work out what the issues are!!

As mentioned before this information is not for touring artists or sports personnel and their subsequent support teams, but there is some up to date info here for you if you require it and also this Czech based company have got some great information .


When looking through the Portuguese sites the information is mostly aimed at people retiring there from the UK, a way off for some of us I’m sure. It does seem that a temporary stay visa is the way to go, as you will see “show business” mentioned. I had some conflicting details from their Embassy which I have added here which contradicts the websites for immigration.

“In theory, as long as the work in question is not under the responsibility of company that is located in Portugal, and the stay is inferior to 90 days, no Visa should be required, but I would ask you to always confirm with SEF (our Portuguese Borders Service):


“Per current guidelines British nationals, now classified as third country citizens, do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, within a 180 day period, inside the Schengen Area. This is also applicable to work related trips, except where the applicant is directly employed by a company based in Portugal (in these cases a seasonal work visa may be required). Nationalities that are not exempt of visa requirement when crossing into the Schengen area must always apply for a visa, even if the stay is inferior to 90 days.”

What seems critical here is the definition of “work” and as each case is different my advice would be to contact the Embassy or a local consulate of which unusually they have many or the aforementioned SEF.

The most succinct information is here. if you are happy to be applying for a permit the best self employment information is here form the portuguese immigration website.The information on Portugal counts for the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira as well.


Although I know it is not strictly in the EU it is worth a mention here I believe. We have heard a lot about the Norway agreement and the Greenland arrangement. Well so you know, we don’t have one with Norway! It’s madness not to have a connection with one of the richest countries in the world, but there it is. I did look at the seasonal work way in. This is essentially for fruit pickers and other work that can only be done in season, not festivals sadly, it explicitly says not for trades. The UDI which is the immigration platform has information on being self employed, but essentially, there is no temporary arrangement and you would have to have a job before you apply for a residence permit. I am not sure how big the market is for events, so maybe the lobby won’t be huge but this is one of the most convoluted to get around. If you wish to apply for a residence permit, the Norwegian Embassy has the process here.


Austria has a lot of information for temporary working for third national country workers. It mainly falls to the highly qualified or the jobs that Austria requires outsiders to do. It is a very similar set up to Switzerland. The news is not good for freelancers unless you are invited by an Austrian company. There is a rigid point system for temporary workers and one of the criteria is that the equivalent job is not being advertised in the area of Austria you are working in. The London Embassy website has a great deal of useful detail and they were very helpful. The Artist exemption is pretty clear but it does not mention support teams but worth investigating further. This section for self employment made me laugh, poor singing waiters, I’m hoping this also includes living statues!

  • “Self-employment

“Proof of artistic activity (training certificates, earlier engagements etc.) must be presented when filing an application with the competent Austrian representation. Both performing as well as creative artists can apply for a visa, but artistic activity must be predominant (no “singing” waiters). Proof of adequate means of subsistence must be presented in the form of engagement contracts with theatres, concert halls etc. or e.g. agreements with galleries. Depending on the duration of the intended activity, either a visa C Employment or a visa D Employment should be applied for. “


As a country it doesn’t have a great reputation for immigration tolerance and the search for ways in for UK based companies is pretty bleak. Hungary is a huge filming destination though and has therefore modelled a specific channel for third national countries if you are filming. This company Progressive deals with film crews and has advice on visas which may be of use. I did manage to get an answer from the embassy set out below ;

“In reply to your email about temporary work (not exceeding 90 days within 180 days), I’d like to inform you that in line with the relevant regulations (Annex 2 to Government Order No. 445/2013 (XI.28), the Hungarian partner must submit an application to the labour/employment centre of the government office (in Hungarian: kormányhivatal munkaügyi központja) in whose area of competence the work will take place. The government office issues a decision, which is sent to the applicant.”

Regardless of the purpose of stay, British citizens can travel to Hungary without obtaining any type of visa and stay there for up to 90 days. .”

For those wishing to go down the route of working here, there are some “company Director” ways of getting on but just as a manager not as a worker. There is a company Helpers that has some very clear information. But as the above detail shows there may be some light in Hungary for us.

Czech Republic

Another country that has a large filming industry and there is therefore a large amount of information. Under the exemptions list there is this description which I think would cover you as an exhibition contractor especially if you were working with a Czech contractor on site.

“Next wide group is formed of Pedagogue, academic or research worker participating in a scientific meeting, pupil or student under the age of 26, athlete or person supplying goods or services in the Czech Republic or supplying or performing assembly on based on a commercial contract or performing warranty and repair work, whose performance in the territory of the Czech Republic does not exceed 7 consecutive days or 30 days in the aggregate per calendar year.

The Czech Embassy reply is still outstanding but I will drop it in when it arrives.


As with all EU nations you do not need a visa to enter Slovakia for 90 days in the 180 but you will need a permit to work. Like a lot of countries in the 27 states, this relates to a residence permit and also your job being advertised locally before you arrive, to give home nationals a chance at the job. An independent website from Mondaq has a lot of useful information as well as the Ministry of Labour. The Slovakian London Embassy has a general page but nothing specific for our industry that helps but they did reply with the below detail.

“Workers – United Kingdom nationals – posted from the United Kingdom to Slovakia to perform work after 31 December 2020 need to comply with conditions of the national legislation applicable to nationals of third countries and will have to apply for a work permit in accordance with the valid Act No 5/2004 Coll. on employment services, as amended.”

Republic of Bulagria

I can confirm there is neither a temporary work situation for contractors or artists unless you are invited by the Ministry of Culture and even then a visa is required. The Ministry of employment which I could only find in Bulgarian has a list of requirements, all of which would preclude our ability to turn up and do our job. The job would need to be posted locally and of national importance before a work permit would be issued and then a visa for entry would need to be done. Not condusive to our industry for working, I am sure you would agree.


I spoke with the Croatian Embassy and they were very clear there is no temporary arrangement for manual working . The process to get a permit though seems much simpler and less bureaucratic and the details are here. The Croatian economy is crying out for skilled workers though, so if you were looking for a change of scenery, the work regs are here!

For direct contact the best address advised by the Embassy to contact is .

Rant Warning!

On this look into the countries that have an arrangement and those that don’t I am amazed that anybody could think that this was a good idea and that this is a solution to keeping the trade and strength of the UK economy strong. When industries that pale into significance against the 42bn that the just the Corporate Event and Exhibition market, not including weddings, music, and the many other elements that make up the multi billion Entertainment industry, is worth to the UK economy, it’s financial suicide. I know the arguments for “freedom of movement” but the rest of the world manages to have regulations that we are used to having to meet to enter, for example the USA, and although tedious, at least they exist.

Its estimated that there are over 700,000 people in our industry and most could be affected by this state of affairs and when you consider that as of February 19th negotiations haven’t even been arranged let alone started, its a disaster for many.

Rant over!

I have a few more countries to go through next week and then I will compile all of the detail into a document to download.

Next Week: Ireland, Republic of Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, and Slovenia

Photos : Google images and Singing Waiters

P.S Anybody after a singing Waiter try these guys Singing

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