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Entertainment industry workers guide to come to Australia

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Australia is a popular destination for TV and film production along with other entertainment shows and concerts. If you work in the entertainment industry either as a performer, a support staff or in production you will need the right visa to allow you to travel and work in Australia. In this blog we will discuss the most popular visa options for you. 


Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408) Entertainment Activities Stream

This temporary 408- Entertainment Activities stream visa will allow you to come to Australia either for a short period of time or up to 2 years with your family members to participate in an eligible activity category. It is a suitable option for you if you are an actor, contestant or worker on a reality TV program, a stand-up comedian, a musician/singer or a live theatre performance, an internet video or cultural performer, a celebrity making cameo appearance or appearing in a commercial, a documentary presenter or a non-performing production or technical crew. 


Entertainment activity categories

The categories applied under this visa includes: 

  • performing in a film or television production as a lead actor or a celebrity making a cameo appearance or a reality –show host either for a  production subsidised by an Australian federal, state or territory government  or in a non- government subsidised production,
  • performing other than in film or television such as a live theatre performance, stage comedy, a classic music performance or an online marketing or entertainment video, 
  • working in a production role other than as a performer such as a director, camera or lighting crew or sound crew,
  • working as support staff for an entertainer or group of entertainers providing personal services such as backing music or vocals, acting or voice coaching or hairstyling, dressing or makeup services, 
  • working as a performer or support staff for a non-profit engagement where all profits must be given to a non-commercial organisation, charity or patron and the organisation supporting or sponsoring you must be accepted as a non-profit by the Australian Taxation office, 
  • working on a documentary or commercial for an overseas market that is not intended to be shown in Australia. Light entertainment and reality TV shows can be included in this category only if they portray real events or people. 


Do I need a supporter or a sponsor? 

You will need a supporter if you are applying for this visa outside of Australia and you intend to stay in Australia for a short period of time being less than 3 months. Your supporter will need to apply for the visa on your behalf and provide a letter of support for your application. 

If you are applying in Australia or if you are applying outside of Australia to come for a period longer than 3 months then you will need a sponsor who must first apply and be approved as a temporary activities sponsor in order to sponsor you. The sponsorship is a separate application

Depending on which entertainment category you are applying for, your supporter/sponsor may need to consult with one or more Australian unions before the application. For example, musicians and conductors must consult with the Musicians Union of Australia (MUA), directors must consult with the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) and other performers or production staff need to consult with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).  

If you are coming as a performer in a film or television production (first category listed above), your supporter/sponsor should also obtain a certificate from the Department of Communications and the Arts in Australia as required by the department. 


What else will I need for this visa? 

In addition to fitting the right category and having a supporter/sponsor, you will also need to:

  1. Have a contract for your performance in Australia or evidence of your non-profit engagement.
  2. Have evidence that you have sufficient money to support yourself and your family whilst you are in Australia- this can be actual savings or a payment contract for your work. 
  3. Have no health or character issues.
  4. Arrange private health insurance unless you are in a country that has reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia.
  5. Be a genuine temporary entrant proving that you do not have an intention to stay in Australia permanently.
  6. Pay back any debt you owe the Australian Government or have a formal arrangement to pay it back. 


Temporary Activity visa Subclass 408- Other Social and Cultural Activity (Invited Participant) stream- up to 3 months only

If you do not meet the above criteria or do not fit under one of the categories for the Entertainment Activities Steam, then the Invited Participant stream may be more suited for you. 

This option will suit someone who wants to come and work as one of the following: 

  • an entertainer attending a promotional event only, without performing,
  • an artist creating visual art or holding exhibitions of their work,
  • an author at a writer’s festival presenting work in front of an audience, 
  • a dance choreographer conducting a dance workshop that includes a closing non-ticketed performance, 
  • a competitor in a non-sporting competition for dance, music or online gaming
  • a contestant of a reality show not receiving a salary where you can also consider a visitor visa. 

Under this category you will also need a supporter if you are applying outside of Australia or a sponsor if you are applying in Australia. You must also prove that you will be able to support yourself and family members during your stay in Australia. You must also have adequate health insurance, prove your genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily and meet the health and character tests. 

About the author 

This article was written by Marial LewisMarial is an admitted lawyer in Australia and holds a double degree in Commerce and Law as well as a Master degree in Legal Practice. She was awarded John Gibson Young Migration Lawyer of the year award in 2020 and was a finalist in multiple awards in 2019 such as 30 under 30, the Rising Star of the year and the Suburban Lawyer of the year. To contact Marial Lewis, click here.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: ImmiAdvisor recommends you obtain your own independent immigration, legal, accounting, financial or taxation advice as appropriate. It is solely your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness and usefulness of all information provided through this blog/website. In no event will ImmiAdvisor Pty Ltd or the author of this article be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken by you or anyone else in reliance upon any information contained on or omitted from this blog/website. Immigration law is complex and is subject to constant regulatory and policy change.  The information provided here may therefore be outdated and no longer accurate.  The information provided above is a general guide only – it is not tailored for your specific circumstances or immigration purposes and you must under no circumstances rely on this information for immigration planning or the lodgement of an application with the Australian government or related bodies.  In order to ensure your eligibility is accurately assessed and to allow for tactical decision making that would best suit your desired immigration outcome, it is essential that you consult with a capable immigration advisor registered with the relevant body.




Marial Lewis

Marial is an accredited specialist lawyer in Immigration Law and a multi-award…

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