Special provisions governing the issue of employment permits for foreign artists

Even if the requirement for issuing an employment permit are not met (see Which requirements must be met for a confirmation of guaranteed work or an employment permit being issued?), an employment permit for an foreign artist may be refused only if the impairment of public interests is disproportionately more serious than the impairment of the foreign national’s freedom of art.

When labour market interests are weighed against the foreign artist’s freedom of art, the labour market situation is considered to a very limited extent only.
Note that the refusal of an employment permit must not make it impossible for the foreign national to exercise art in a reasonable manner.

When weighing these interests, no judgement must be made on

  • either the value of artistic activity,
  • or the artist’s artistic quality.

For this special provision to be applied, it is essential that the employed activity is predominantly characterised by tasks of artistic creation.

  • Part 1 of the requirement: Being “predominantly characterised by tasks of artistic creation“ refers primarily to the amount of time devoted to artistic activities, not to their quality. If, for a given employment, artistic activity is marginal, the special provision does not apply.
  • Part 2 of the requirement: “Tasks of artistic creation”. While the law contains neither a definition nor a listing of activities held to be artistic, the following professions generally tend to be characterised by tasks of artistic creation:
    • sculptor
    • painter
    • graphic artist
    • conservator, restorer
    • set designer, production designer, interior designer, costume designer
    • fashion designer, designer
    • artistic director and related management-level professions (e.g. event manager)
    • film director, stage director, choreographer
    • actor, audio and voice-over artist, DJ, VJ
    • dancer (unless practiced as a sport, as go-go dancing, table dancing or similar)
    • acrobatic artist
    • musician
    • photographer
    • other performing artists.

This special provision also covers all teachers at arts colleges and higher education institutions for artistic professions, unless otherwise exempted.

On submitting credible evidence of artistic activity see chapter Which documents must be submitted with an application for an employment permit?