Producers are not always aware of their legal obligations under New Zealand immigration law. Most International Productions will have a local (NZ) producer &/or production company working with the international producers and production company. This article provides the NZFVTG view of producers' responsibilities. See Information: overview for more information about the overall immigration process.
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It is common practice for the New Zealand producer representing international productions in New Zealand to advise and organise the work visa process locally, applying to Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
Applications made outside New Zealand are submitted to the nearest office or agent of INZ (e.g. New Zealand Embassy, Consulate or High Commission).
Immigration New Zealand has distinct policy (INZ Operations Manual Section WS3.1) regarding the granting of work visas. This policy describes the producer's responsibility to consider using New Zealand cast and crew or demonstrating why non-New Zealand cast and crew are appropriate.
Any person performing their occupation in New Zealand for any period, and regardless of whether they are being paid in New Zealand or elsewhere, is required to have a work visa. Australian citizens are exempt from this requirement.
Feature film productions making use of an Official Co-Production Treaty (confirmed as such by Film NZ) are generally able to use crew from the international partner country to the extent of the percentage investment from that country, and provided they are nominated by the international co-producers. Individuals from the international partner country who approach the production directly for work, such as those on visitors visas, do not qualify.
Producers must make a comprehensive effort to use local crew before considering engagment of non-New Zealand individuals visiting the country (some visitors require a visa to travel to NZ, many do not). Producers proceeding with an application to engage a non-New Zealander will be required to submit the evidence to the Guild and the Immigration Service of their efforts. Where the evidence is found to be insufficient, the Guild will undertake a workplace market test at a cost of $80.00 + GST per hour.
Producers who hire individuals with working holiday visas/permits should note that a condition of that visa is that the individual is restricted from working for a single employer for more than three months. Applications must be made to INZ if a producer wishes to re-engage a working holidaymaker beyond three months.
The Guild is often asked to make assesments of general work permit applications for screen production companies (such as post-production, VFX and animation) who intend to engage specialist personnel from outside New Zealand. The company must provide comprehensive supporting evidence for their application including salary/wages offered and contract conditions. Where the evidence is found to be insufficient, the Guild will undertake a workplace market test at a cost of $80.00 + GST per hour.
The INZ work permit screen production policy is available as part of the INZ Operations Manual on the INZ web site:
INZ Specific Purpose or Event (web page)
Film industry personnel – requirements (web page)
INZ Operations Manual (PDF 1.4Mb)
This document represents the policy of the New Zealand Film and Video Technicians' Guild. It does not represent the policy of the New Zealand Immigration Service. Producers should seek independent advice with regard to New Zealand immigration law and consult the relevant section of the Immigration New Zealand Operations Manual (Temporary Entry Section WS3.1).