Advice for Scottish artists planning to tour in Australia.
Covid 19 Restrictions
As things stand it is not possible to travel to Australia to perform. Only Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family of those and people with individual exemptions can enter the country. Exemptions can be granted on compassionate grounds but not for temporary work.
More information is available here https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/travel-restrictions-0
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. Here you will find details about this visa and the costs involved.
It says that the processing time should be around 16 days but in our experience the application process can take 2-3 months so it’s important to apply well in advance.
You do not need a sponsor to apply for this visa if you are applying outside Australia and you intend to stay there for less than 3 months. If either of these conditions are not met you will require a sponsor.
You must have a contract for your performance or work in Australia. If you are going for a non-profit engagement, whether as a performer or production staff, you must be able to show us evidence of this.
You will require "adequate health insurance" to obtain this visa. There have been some reports of refusal to accept annual policies but in most cases these will be fine as long as the cover is sufficient. Check the link below for more details.
The official fee for lodging an application starts at around £170 per person but this may vary. 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 Contract of engagement 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:
If you are being paid for your work in Australia you will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to avoid withholding tax.
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.