NZ Actors’ Guild Submissions on further Immigration Issues

March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Recently the NZAG was asked, along with various other industry guilds and unions to comment on further aspects of the new immigration regulations – this time relating to production companies applying to become accredited employers for the purposes of bringing in overseas performers.

The NZAG had several points to make, which included:

  • there needs to be more drilling down into the types of NZ employees that a business or production has. It is all very well to say a production has 25 kiwi employees but if they are all admin staff this is no use to us. At minimum a production, crew, and talent breakdown is necessary. It would be also desirable from the NZAG’s perspective to see whether the performers employed were principals, supporting cast, featured extra or extra. Again it is easy to say “we employed 200 kiwi actors on our film” but if all 200 were extras then this is not the best outcome.
  • Ideally the NZAG would like visiting performers to be involved in upskilling others – especially if the visiting performer is deemed to be possessing skills that aren’t available in the country.
  • When applicants reapply the test is to be that INZ that must be “satisfied the employer still meets accreditation requirements” It would seem desirable that other relevant guilds and organisations are referred to. Especially since they operate in the industry whereas INZ does not.
  • We also sought clarification with the process of the rescinding of accreditation.  Is INZ the only party who can initiate this? The NZAG believes that there needs to be a robust complaints process that is clearly spelt out because, again, it is the guilds and unions who work in the industry alongside these accredited producers.
  • Finally the NZAG is concerned with how INZ plans to include the NZAG in the process. Given that we are now an industry organisation the NZAG needs to be involved in any process.
  • Finally – on the subject of silent approval – this point has been made before but is worth making again: silent approval has removed one of the ways to encourage producers to engage with a wider industry. Whilst we understand the underlying purpose of the new regulations is to streamline the process we think that at this level, where producers may now no longer need to make any applications for a 12-24 month period that one more involved and active approval engagement with guilds and unions isn’t too onerous. And it gives a proper chance to make sure these producers and productions are legitimate and avoids many disputes later on. Especially since so much of the application process requires demonstration of involvement with relevant unions and guilds then surely the process itself should encourage this sort of involvement?
This whole accreditation process for productions and producers is something that needs to be very carefully managed because, as we have stated elsewhere previously, it can be seen as a real tool and benefit for producers and has potential for abuse.
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