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Models and Creatives Can Now Travel To UK For Work Projects More Easily

Thanks to the new system in place models and creatives without UK residence can now use the ‘stop-the-clock’ mechanism for their work travels – here’s everything you need to know:

Photographer ©Nicky Zeng for MMSCENE backstage at London Fashion Week

British Fashion Council just helped secure the ‘Stop-The-Clock’ mechanism on Tier 5 Visas allowing models and creatives to travel for events such as London Fashion Week to UK for work. 

The British Fashion Model Agents Association (BFMA) and The British Fashion Council (BFC) have teamed up to work on legislation change with the Home Office alongside the support of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to secure changes affecting the current post-Brexit Immigration Rules in the UK. The changes are to largely affect models and freelancers from the creative industries. 


Furthermore it is important to note this is an exception applying only to 14 day stays in the UK for work on projects such as the London Fashion Week, thus the ‘stop-the-clock’ name to the legislation change entirely fits the description.

If you are a model or creative travelling in and out of the United Kingdom you are now able to use a 14-day engagement rule. This will allow a quite larger circulation of models and creative talents during the events in the UK such as the London Fashion Week. This change now fully comes into effect as of the 6th April 2021.

Photographer ©Nicky Zeng for MMSCENE backstage at London Fashion Week



This rule will also allow creative workers traveling both in and outside of the UK to travel without the time counting the 14-day engagement legislation. Therefore international talent now have the right to travel to the UK for London Fashion Week and also travel outside for work without their right to work being cancelled. 

With the new updates to the agreement, if a model has a job or for any reason has to travel outside the UK, there is no longer a requirement for this to be part of the 14 day period. This is the primary benefit of the newly placed ‘stop-the-clock’ mechanism. Therefore, if you are a model travelling in and outside of the UK during the fashion week month period for let’s say castings or other jobs, the days outside of the UK won’t be added to the 14-day period. Thanks to the change the overall length of the migrant’s visa will not be extended. Still, the calculation between engagements will only count for time spent within the UK.

Photographer ©Nicky Zeng for MMSCENE backstage at London Fashion Week – see more.

This change is hugely important to supporting the competitiveness of the UK and making our country more accessible to international models and creative talent. We are delighted that the work we have done on securing it will positively impact other creative British industries. The UK and London are international fashion and creative hubs and this arrangement better reflects the nature of the community and sectors that work there,” shared with the Caroline Rush, Chief Executive BFC said: 

Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary adds : “The international influence of the UK’s fashion sector cannot be overstated, with London Fashion Week marking a seminal moment in the fashion calendar. I am pleased that we have taken additional steps to ensure talented creatives from across the world can come to the UK for work projects more easily. Fashion is a truly global sector, and this will enable it to continue its vital role in the UK as we build back better from the pandemic.”


In the past the T5 VISA was used by models and creative professionals to work at multiple event jobs for up to one year however with no more than 14 days between each individual job. The workers T5 VISA permission was automatically cancelled if more than 14 days passed between the jobs and you would have to make a new visa application. The change to the rules will greatly aid the visa sponsors who were under obligation to make sure that this two week time frame was never breached. With creative industries depending on travel, which will hopefully resume with Covid-19 measures subsiding, this was quite problematic for the fashion and design industry. Many models have multiple projects both in and outside the United Kingdom running simultaneously. 

Photographer ©Nicky Zeng for MMSCENE backstage at London Fashion Week

You will be able to use the ‘Stop-The-Clock’ rule multiple times, until your Visa expires. To explain easily, if you have a 30 day visa the same will freeze or simply stop the clock for a period of up to 14 days if you are to leave the UK for a job. Once you are back to the UK your visa’s ‘clock’ will start ticking once again. 


To help the legislation go further in recognizing the work rights in the model industry BFMA, Home Office and DCMS have worked on the modification of the Tier 5 Models Code of Practice. This guideline aims to aid UK Visa Sponsors on how to bring models into the UK under the Temporary Visa creative route in 2018. The Code of Practice can be found on BFC.

Important: Stop-The-Clock applies only to models and creatives with Tier 5 Visa already in place. The rule does not allow you to travel to the UK for work without a legislated work Visa.

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