I have been working with some great artists who have always required a visa to come play in the UK, sometimes at great expense – with the cost of a UK visa being £244 per person for the ‘cheap’ option. Artists from Mali, for example, cannot apply in their own country and instead have to fly to Senegal to submit their UK application. Their passports then have to be sent to Sheffield in the UK for processing, which can take up to four weeks.
They then they have to wait, anxiously, hoping that their visas are ready in time for them to travel. To the cost of the visa itself, you can add the expense of travelling back and forth and potential accommodation costs. If they are applying for an extended visa to cover a longer period, they will also have to pay for NHS fees and tests for tuberculosis, if applicable. It all adds up.