You need to apply for a visa to perform in Australia, or to work as support or production staff for a performer. Previously, the appropriate visa was the temporary work (entertainment) visa – subclass 420. You now need to apply for a temporary activity visa – subclass 408. This article explains what activities are included in the 408 visa and sets out the application process.

The 408 Visa to Perform in Australia

The 408 visa allows you to visit Australia temporarily to work in the entertainment industry. Other activities the visa permits include:

  • attending events at an Australian organisation;
  • participating in a research project;
  • participating in a government operated community outreach program; or
  • participating in sports competitions or training programs.

To be eligible for a 408 visa, you will need to be supported or sponsored and meet additional requirements for each relevant stream. Typically, the length of stay allowed under the visa is two years. However, if you are invited to an Australian event under the invited participant activity stream, the length of stay is three months.

The Application Process

You will need to apply for your visa to perform in Australia before booking flights and accommodation. You will want to get a head start on applying, because it often takes two to three months to receive confirmation after lodging your application.

If your intended stay is more than three months, the organisation or agency hosting you will need to sponsor you. The organisation or agency will also need to be approved to sponsor temporary activities before you will be able to lodge your application.

If you are currently on an existing visa and intend to apply for the entertainment visa while you are onshore (inside Australia), you will need to ensure that your current visa does not have any conditions of ‘no further stay’ before making your application. Otherwise, you will need to depart Australia and apply for the visa while you are outside of Australia.

To apply, you will need:

  • a valid passport; and
  • evidence of financial support.

If you intend to stay in Australia for longer than 12 months, you may also need to provide:

  • an Australian National Police check and a police certificate from each country you have spent more than 12 months total in over the last 10 years, since turning 16; and
  • evidence of adequate health insurance.

Applying as a Performer

If you are a performer, you will also need to provide:

  • a performing contract for the performances you have in Australia;
  • evidence that your sponsoring organisation has spoken with the relevant union; and
  • evidence that your sponsoring organisation has obtained any relevant licences.

If you are not performing on television, you will need to show that your performances will assist employment in the Australian entertainment industry and provide an itinerary of where you will perform. Your support staff will also need to apply for a 408 visa.

Once you have these documents organised, you can then submit your visa application online.

After Submitting Your Application

It is important you demonstrate that you are a genuine temporary entrant. You may need to attend an interview or provide additional information relevant to your application, including:

  • a health check;
  • DNA information; or
  • police certificates.

The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) recommends that you do not make any bookings until it has approved your visa.

After the Department has processed your visa, it will contact you. The Department will let you know if it has granted your visa and provide details and conditions of your visa. If your application was unsuccessful, there will be additional information with details of your rights of review (if any) and any time limits that might apply.

Key Takeaways

You need to apply for a visa to perform in Australia. You need to follow strict application processes and avoid booking flights or accommodation until you receive confirmation of your visa status. This can be a tricky process that involves multiple documents, steps and stakeholders, such as the sponsor and supporter, as well as the relevant unions.

Therefore, if you are an entertainer looking to apply for an Australian visa, contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Evangelia Douventzidis
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