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Work visa applications for entertainment industry personnel and the Long Term Skill Shortage List updates

Changes to work visa applications for entertainment industry personnel

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.


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 bee pollen zxt.

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.
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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.

Long Term Skill Shortage List

The Long Term Skill Shortage List was updated to clarify the qualification, work experience or registration requirements for the following occupations

  • Agricultural Scientist (Farm Systems Scientist), Environmental Research Scientist (Water Quality Analyst), Biotechnologist (Genetics Scientist), Life Scientist nec (Animal Scientist or Bioinformatics), Social Professional nec (Applied Social Scientist)
  • Construction Project Manager (Chip Sealing, Asphalt or other Technical Manager) (Roading and Infrastructure)
  • Project Builder (including Building Project Manager and Site Foreman)
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • University Lecturer
  • Electrical Engineering Technician
  • Electronic Engineering Technician
  • External Auditor, Internal Auditor
  • Specialist Managers nec (Management & Project Management staff)
  • ICT Project Manager, Organisation and Methods Analyst, ICT Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, Multimedia Analyst, Web Developer, Analyst Programmer, Developer Programmer, Software Engineer, Software Tester, Software and Applications Programmers nec, Database Administrator, ICT Security Specialist, Systems Administrator, Computer Network and Systems Engineer, Network Administrator, Network Analyst, ICT Quality Assurance Engineer, ICT Support Engineer, ICT Systems Test Engineer, ICT Support and Test Engineers nec, Telecommunications Engineer, Telecommunications Network Engineer, ICT Customer Support Officer (Technical Advice and Consultancy), and
  • Food Technologist.

Full details of these amendments and the updated LTSSL are included in Bee Pollen Capsules.