No music desert in Basel!

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Petition to the government of Basel-Stadt  

On September 1, 2014, musicians who had been living and working in Basel for years were informed that they would have to leave Switzerland. The reason given was a change in policy at the Federal Office for Migration.

 This change in policy makes entirely unrealistic demands on professional musicians: all musicians from non-EU countries have to demonstrate that they have 75% employment from a single employer in order even to apply for a residency permit.  Further restrictions also apply.


What are the consequences?

 Many highly-qualified musicians would have to leave the country, because no jobs with 75% employment exist in their specialized field. They would be forced to cease their national and international performing and research activities, which in many cases are connected with music schools and renowned Basel music institutions such as the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and the Paul Sacher-Stiftung. The reputation and excellence of Basels musical life would be threatened. Research, teaching, as well as performance would all suffer from the negative consequences.


Fairness for musicians and quality of Basels musical life

 The change in policy for residency permits was unforeseeable for those affected. They have all planned on being able to live and work in and from Basel. In many cases they have signed contracts extending well beyond January 1st 2015 that they must fulfill. It would therefore only be fair if a solution for those affected could be found so that they would not have to leave Basel, and that Basel would not become a musical wasteland!


The undersigned request of the government of the canton Basel-Stadt,

 To find a legal temporary solution so that all of the musicians from non-EU countries affected by the change in policy, including those who have finished their studies in 2014, be granted a temporary residency permit until at least December 31st 2015, and as a longterm measure to approach the Federal government and work towards changing the regulation of Federal law to make it possible for freelance musicians from non-EU countries to live and work here in Switzerland. Through cooperation between the canton Basel-Stadt and the responsible authorities, a model should be developed that takes into account the reputation of Basel as a city of culture. Musicians are not just students and freelance artists; They are also cultural ambassadors who travel worldwide with small ensembles and orchestras, contributing considerably to the positive reputation of the musical and cultural scene in Switzerland. The economic factor should also be considered.


 Petition committee: Sibylle Benz Hübner, Grossrätin SP / Brigitta Gerber, Grossrätin GB / Patrick Hafner, Grossrat SVP / Beatrice Isler, Grossrätin CVP / Beat Jans, Nationalrat SP / Andrea Elisabeth Knellwollf, Grossrätin CVP / Markus Lehmann, Nationalrat CVP / Annemarie Pfeifer, Grossrätin EVP / Helen Schai, Grossrätin CVP / Dr. Heiner Vischer, Grossrat LDP


 With official support from prominent representatives of the music scene:

Jean-­Jacques Dünki, Pianist,  composer  and former professor / Bruno  Schneider,  horn player  und professor / Peter  Reidemeister, musician and musicologist, until 2005 Director of  Schola  Cantorum  Basiliensis  / Andreas  Scholl,  Countertenor  / Dame  Emma  Kirkby,  Soprano  / Evelyn  Tubb,  Soprano  und  professor / Anthony Rooley, Director of the Consort of Musicke


The petition may be signed by anyone, including those living outside canton Basel-Stadt, foreigners, minors, and juridical persons.


Translation: Nathaniel Cox