Temporary workers in the entertainment, music, film and television industries who intend to be in New Zealand for a specific purpose or event (such as an acting or production role in film or television, or taking part in a music or dance tour or event) need to apply for a work visa. All such applications must be referred to the relevant industry guild or union - the New Zealand Film and Video Technicians’ Guild, the Screen Production and Development Association, the Screen Directors’ Guild of New Zealand, the New Zealand Actor’s Guild, New Zealand Actors’ Equity or the musicians’ branch of the Service and Food Workers Union.
New Zealand companies unable to fill roles within New Zealand can apply in advance for ‘approval in principal’ to recruit staff from overseas. This also requires referral to the relevant industry guild or union.
From 30 April 2012 there will be a streamlined process, without any guild or union referral, for applicants whose engagement in New Zealand is:
Applications that fall outside these criteria will be subject to the same industry-led labour market testing that currently applies.
New Zealand companies who seek to engage entertainment industry personnel will be able to apply in advance to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to become accredited. Accreditation criteria are being developed and will include demonstrating commitment to engaging and training New Zealanders. The relevant guild(s) and/or union(s) will be consulted as part of consideration of applications for accreditation.
Performers and direct support staff attending an ‘approved’ arts or music festival will be able to enter New Zealand as visitors, without having to apply for a visa if they are from one of the more than 50 countries with which New Zealand has a visa-waiver agreement.
For an arts or music festival to become ‘approved’, its organisers will have to submit a proposal to INZ demonstrating that their festival meets certain criteria. These criteria are being developed.
The key objective of the proposed changes is to reduce red tape and compliance costs on entertainment industry businesses and to support economic growth. This will ensure that these businesses can get the people they need when they need them, while still providing protection for New Zealand workers. The current ‘one size fits all’ immigration process, where all applications are referred to industry guilds or unions irrespective of whether there is a risk of displacing New Zealand workers, does not necessarily reflect the requirements of different industry sectors, types of production or other government objectives.
The changes will make it easier for entertainment industry companies to bring workers to New Zealand. Inbound productions can create a significant number of jobs for New Zealanders across a range of roles. The changes will reduce the risk of the immigration process reducing New Zealand’s attractiveness to overseas productions.
Further detail on the policy will be available in late March 2012.