Advice for Scottish artists planning to tour in Australia.

Visa

UK Musicians visiting Australia to work require a Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408). This replaces the old Entertainment visa subclass 420. The link below will take you to the visa listing page. The Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) is in the Working and skilled visas section. Click on it for more details and information about costs.

The application process can take 2-3 months so it’s important to apply well in advance.

You will first need to find an Australian Sponsor to nominate the activity you’re undertaking. One of your employers in Australia could have sponsorship status already, so for example if you are booked to play several festivals, ask them all! Some might offer a service help you through the Visa process and lodge the application for you via their immigration agent (possibly for a fee, but it could be complimentary if you’re lucky).

The official fee for lodging an application is around £160 per person but this may vary. There is a calculator on the Australian Government website linked below, be sure to check this for up to date info on cost. There may well be additional fees for a visa service operator in Australia as well as union fees charged per band.

You will require the following for your application:

  • A good quality scan of photo page in passport for each person travelling
  • Date of arrival into / departure from Australia
  • Personnel List: A list of all members of the touring party including: Full name in passport Stage name (if applicable) Date of birth Passport country of issue Passport number Role within band
  • Information on each of your engagements in Australia Name of organisation/individual employing you Contact name ** Contact phone number
  • Copy of Travel Insurance Policy to cover the whole stay in Australia

If someone else is lodging the application for you the Form 956a will also have to be completed. This appoints an authorised person to communicate with the Immigration Dept on your behalf.

AU Government Guidance:

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/Visa-listing

Tax

If you are being paid for your work in Australia you will need an Australian Business Number (ABN).

To obtain this you first require Tax File Number (TFN). It takes around 1 month to get a TFN and then a further month to get your ABN so make sure you start this process in good time before your first engagement in Australia.

Official guidance on obtaining a TFN and the relevant form NAT 2628 can be found here "https://www.ato.gov.au/Forms/TFN---application-for-individual-living-outside-Australia":https://www.ato.gov.au/Forms/TFN---application-for-individual-living-outside-Australia.

Once you have your TFN, you can apply for an ABN through the Australian Business Register "https://abr.gov.au/For-Business,-Super-funds---Charities/Applying-for-an-ABN":https://abr.gov.au/For-Business,-Super-funds---Charities/Applying-for-an-ABN.

Your earnings in Australia will be subject to withholding tax unless you apply for a Foreign Residents Withholding Tax Variation (FRWV). For a non-resident individual the maximum rate is 49% so it’s important that you attend to this!

For the FRWV application you’ll need the following:

  • Copies of contracts (drafts will suffice), including itineraries
  • A note of all fees & per diems
  • Passport details for all including country of tax residency
  • A budget of expenses (including any commission, management fees, car hire/fuel/transport costs, meals, insurance costs, promo materials, etc)

Official guidance can be found here "https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/International-tax-for-individuals/In-detail/Australian-income-of-foreign-residents/Foreign-resident-PAYG-withholding---individual-entities/":https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/International-tax-for-individuals/In-detail/Australian-income-of-foreign-residents/Foreign-resident-PAYG-withholding---individual-entities/

There is a lot to take in so you may wish to appoint a professional to take care of the entire tax process. Ask your employer in Australia to recommend a specialist accountant.