Screen producer’s body recommends reduction in ‘unnecessary red tape’ to foreign actors visa rules

Matthew Deaner Screen Producers Australia is recommending a reduction in “unnecessary red tape” in its submission to the Review of the Temporary Work (Entertainment) visa (Subclass 420) as it calls for sensible reforms to the rules governing visas for foreign actors.

The submission follows on from the government review recommending relaxing current rules, which mean overseas talent can only be brought to Australia on a temporary 420 after being approved by Arts Minister George Brandis and after consultation with the performers’ union, and proof it will bring a net increase of jobs to the country.

Matthew Deaner, CEO
of Screen Producers Australia, said: “We are looking to Government for sensible that embrace simplicity in design and structural flexibility.

“This should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat. The local industry clearly benefits from the international engagement as our talented technicians, performers and creators are working globally as a result. In return, the Australian industry is significantly larger than it would be if we were purely domestically oriented. This is key to preserving wages and employment conditions.

“These suggested reforms empower industry to expand levels of production with the public safe in the knowledge that there are a number of safeguards in other legislation and regulation – such as the Significant Australian Content test under the Producer Offset, the Australian Content Standard and Screen Australia’s investment processes – that protect the cultural importance of our screen content,”

According to the Screen Producers Australia submission, the Temporary Employment (Entertainment) visa (Subclass 420) and the Foreign Actors Certification Scheme have not been substantially updated since the 1990s and as a result “are out of step with current commercial pressures”.

The submission also argues that access to foreign investment and sales is highly competitive and critical in a climate of static domestic tax incentives and declining subsidies.

It states: “On occasion the creative and commercial demands of a project warrant the use of international talent. But the current process is not efficient, progressive or effective. Changes to this process will create more opportunities for employment and career advancement, increase production levels and decrease commercial uncertainty. This will guarantee that the public continues to have access to a diverse range of distinctive Australian screen content in more competitive global environment.

“The regulation and guidelines must be clear, transparent and easily understood, responding to contemporary practice and accurately reflecting the crucial role of foreign investment in Australian screen content. Screen Producers Australia believes that this can be achieve in film and television production by amendments to union consultation, the requirements for the Arts Certificate, the definition of Net Employment Benefit and the streamlining of sponsorship and nomination.”

The submission also asserts the Subclass 420 visa is the only visa subclass that includes a legislative requirement for union consultation, which the groups is recommending be removed.

Screen Producers Australia also recommends the removal of the requirement for certification from the Arts Minister.


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