After November 19 2016, the entertainment visa subclass 420 will no longer be issued as part of a new framework for approving entry for temporary work in Australia.
Persons coming to Australia to work in the entertainment industry will still need a visa, but instead will enter the country on the new 408 temporary activity visa. All applications will need to be made online.
Formal sponsorship is no longer required if the stay is shorter than three months, however the applicant will need a letter of support from the individual organisation that has responsibility for the event, saying why they are needed, what they are being paid and whether they are traveling with dependents. It is most likely this will be an agent of the company that will be employing them in Australia. If the stay is between three months and two years, a sponsor is required as previously, and current sponsor authorities will remain valid up to May 18 2017, the end of the transition period.
There is a still a need for consultation with the relevant union, proof of which must be attached to the application.
There will be a fee of $275 for every visa application, which is a reduction from the current $420 fee, but the bulk discount rate will no longer be available. This could add costs to those productions importing more than 20 cast and crew.
The visa period begins from the time of entry to Australia, not from the time it is issued, as is the case with the old 420. This will avoid Immigration holding on to approvals until the last possible moment before travel to Australia. The visa may be renewed before its expiration (either in Australia or outside) or up to 28 days after expiration, although Immigration & Border Protection highlight that letting a visa expire is not advisable.
Additional information on the changes, including transitional arrangements, can be found on the Department’s website here.