408 TEMPORARY ACTIVITY VISA (Entertainment Visa): WHAT MUSICIANS AND ENTERTAINERS NEED TO PERFORM IN AUSTRALIA
Are you an overseas musician or entertainer wanting to come to Australia to perform? Chances are you will need a 408 Temporary Activity Visa (Entertainment Visa) (“408 Entertainment Visa”). Previously you would have required a 420 Entertainment Visa, however a new regime started as of 19 November 2016.
There are very particular requirements that need to be met and evidenced as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) process visa applications under Australian Immigration Law.
Here is a simple guide on the requirements for a 408 Entertainment Visa for musicians and entertainers performing in Australia.
What scenarios could a 408 Entertainment Visa cover?
The 408 Entertainment Visa covers most types of work in the entertainment industry. This includes entertainers or associated production or support staff coming into Australia for performances, studio recordings, media or film production.
THE KEY STEPS IN APPLYING FOR A 408 ENTERTAINMENT VISA
Step 1 – Sponsor/Supporter and Planned Entertainment Activities.
Your performance dates will need to be in placed before you apply for your visa, so you will need to provide us with contracts of engagement, your itinerary and in some circumstances a letter of support.
Every application requires the support of an Australian individual or organisation, which meets the ‘support test’ or ‘sponsor test.’ This is usually the organisation engaging you, or representing your interests in Australia, such as a promoter, venue, record label or booking agent.
You will need a ‘supporter’ or Australian individual or organisation if your stay is for less than 3 months. An approved ‘sponsor’ is only required if your stay is more than 3 months, or you are applying while you are in Australia.
Previously under the 420 Entertainment Visa, an Approved Entertainment Sponsor (who had fulfilled the requirements) was required to provide a nomination application when your application was submitted. This is no longer required under the new scheme, however aspects of these processes have now been incorporated into the new 408 Entertainment Visa.
Step 3 Submissions & Union Consultation
The application will require written submission that your visit will bring a “net employment benefit” to the Australian entertainment industry. You will have to provide evidence of any performing contracts, an itinerary specifying dates and venues of performances and any licences required.
Written submissions to the appropriate union are also required. If you are a musician, you will need to consult the Musician’s Union of Australia (MUA), or if you are a DJ or Tour Manager you will need to consult the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). The submissions are backed up by supporting documents.
The appropriate union may need to be provided with a variety of documents which may include:
Step 4 Entertainment Visa Applications
The final step is completing the visa application for each applicant, which consist of roughly 24 pages of information, and attaching the required documents. We make our applications via our online portal with the Department.
For a basic application, this may include:
The final application is lodged with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The Government lodgement fee has been reduced under the new changes to $275.00 per person.
This was previously $550.00 per person including nomination fee. The large group discounts have now been removed, however you may be eligible for concession if you are performing for a charitable organization or a government funded event.
There are often additional requirements, and these will not be the same for each person.
For example, if you have (or have had in the past) a criminal history, character issues, significant health conditions such as tuberculosis, or you are from particular countries, you may be required to provide additional documentation. In these instances, your application should be submitted earlier to provide for ample processing time.
Every applicant is required to provide current health insurance for the period they are in Australia. This can be organised in your home country. After the department has viewed your application you may need to undergo a health assessment. This could include chest x-rays or other medical examinations. This is requested by the DIBP and must be done through the appropriate channels.
If you have a criminal history generally your penal records are required and need to be specifically addressed in the submissions.
Depending on the circumstances you may require:
How long does it take to apply for a 408 Entertainment Visa?
It is important to apply well in advance of your performance or production schedule.
The departments recommend that you allow 2-3 months for processing.
Considering the 408 Entertainment Visa has only been available for lodgement since 19 November 2016, the exact processing times are hard to determine. We are finding that our online portal has dramatically cut down on all timeframes.
Remember, applying for visa does not guarantee you will be granted one by the Australian Government and a few things need to be done before you apply. If you are applying urgently (less than 2 months) you should contact us and get you materials together as soon as possible.
While we submit urgent application for many tours and promoters, but be aware that you cannot dictate to the Immigration Department how quickly your application should be processed.
How long can I stay in Australia if I am granted a 408 Entertainment Visa?
The Immigration Department will assess applications on a case by case basis. The maximum amount of time you may stay and work in Australia is two years, however it will be granted for the specific amount of time you will be performing or working in Australia. For example, if your performance schedule is for three months you will only be granted a three month entertainment visa, perhaps with some leeway at the end for organizing your departure.
Can I travel in and out of Australia on my visa?
Multiple entries in and out of Australia are permitted if the case officer agrees to grant this. Multiple entries can be difficult but not impossible to obtain. It could be as simple as requiring to fly across to New Zealand for a performance between your Australian tour dates. We would need to specifically outline this in your submissions. Multiple entry users are not granted unless dealt with appropriately and deemed necessary.
Can I do any other work while I am in Australia?
No, you can only undertake the work or activity that is included in your application.
May I bring family members with me?
Yes, you may. However they will also need visas, either as a family member of yours, or under a separate 408 Entertainment Visa if they are working as a member of the touring party.
What if I am under 18?
If you are under 18, please let us know as soon as possible as there are a number of additional steps required.
Can a 408 Entertainment Visa application be rejected?
A visa may be rejected for a number of reasons including character and health issues. Although the Australian government recognises the value of entertainment, overseas acts and film investment, if your application is not done properly it may be rejected or you may have to start the process again.
If your application does not comply or fulfil the requirements it will be rejected.
On a promotional tour and not performing?
If this is the case, you may be eligible for another stream of the 408 Entertainment Visa – the invited participant stream. If this is the case, please contact us. We can process these applications quite quickly, however many of the same materials are required.
Feel free to email us if you have any questions – visas [at] mccormicks.com.au
Entertainment industry visas are the only visas we do, and we are the number 1 experts in the field in Australia with a 100% success rate and have never missed a deadline. The entertainment visas are quite specific so you are in better hands with industry lawyers to ensure its success.
The fees listed above are the fees charged by the Immigration Department. If you are using us or any other qualified agent these fees are in addition. You can see our fixed fee pricing here.
Promoters: For repeat clients and promoters with a large number of applicants each year, our specific fess are calculated on a volume retainer. Promoters should contact Matt to discuss matt [at] mccomormicks.com.au