Changes in visa requirements for temporary workers in the music, screen and entertainment industry

Monday, 30 April 2012 (Source – Immigration New Zealand

Changes in visa requirements for temporary workers in the music, screen and entertainment industry take effect on 30 April 2012.  The changes apply to entertainers, performing artists and associated support personnel, film and video production and post-production crew, producers and directors.

What has changed?

Previously all such applications needed to be referred to the relevant professional association, industry guild or union such as the New Zealand Film and Video Technicians’ Guild, the Screen Production and Development Association, the Screen Directors’ Guild of New Zealand, New Zealand Actors Equity, the New Zealand Actor’s Guild, or the musicians’ branch of the Service and Food Workers Union.

New rules

From 30 April 2012 there will be a streamlined process, without any professional association, industry guild or union referral, for applicants whose engagement in New Zealand is:

  • for 14 days or less, or
  • on an official co-production, or
  • with an accredited company.

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. They must demonstrate that they:

  • are financially sound,
  • have a sound industry track record,
  • have a commitment to engaging and training New Zealanders, and
  • have good work place practices.

The relevant professional associations, industry guilds and/or unions will be consulted as part of consideration of applications for accreditation.

For more information on the accreditation criteria, please see Entertainment industry accreditation.

Approved arts and music festivals

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. See the Checklist for Arts and Music Festival Approval Status PDF [334KB] for further information.

Rationale for changes

The key objective of the 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 previous ‘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.

Benefits of the changes

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.

For more information regarding your immigration and visa requirements please contact Auckland law firm Quay Law NZ.