While most people do not immediately think about Canada when it comes to film and television, the truth is that many of Hollywood’s famous movies and television shows are filmed in Canada. Filming in Canada is less expensive and given its sprawling wilderness, taking shots without disturbance becomes much easier.
If you are looking for job opportunities in the Canadian film industry, then it is likely that you will have to start with everybody else, right at the beginning. However, if you already have an impressive portfolio and a job offer, then you can simply apply for a temporary work permit for temporary residence. TV and film productions may also bring their essential personnel to Canada through the TV and Film Production Work Permit Category.
Who Is Eligible for the TV and Film Production Work Permit Category?
Applicants to this category do not require a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may be required. To qualify for a TRV, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Have a valid passport with at least 2 blank pages
- Have a return air ticket
- Be admissible to Canada
- Have strong ties to your home country
- Intend to leave Canada at the end of your visit
- Have sufficient financial resources to support yourself and your family members in Canada
All foreign workers being hired under this work permit category must be essential to the operations of the production. They will also be required to meet the following requirements:
Have a letter of support from the production company stating the following:
- The name and contact information of the production
- The working title of the production, the proposed date of production, and the provinces or territories where the production will take place
- The name of the applicant
- A statement confirming the importance of the foreign worker to the operations of the production
- Details on how the production will economically benefit the TV and film industry in Canada
- Signature of the senior representative in the production
- Date of the signature
- The estimated number of employment opportunities that will be created by the production
- The estimated budget for production at the federal, provincial, and territorial level
- A statement to confirm that the production meets the requirements for the federal, provincial or territorial tax credit or a statement confirming that the production is being funded by the federal, provincial, or territorial governments
The applicant may also require a letter from the concerning union or guild if the offered position is unionized. This letter must contain the following:
- The description of the union or guild
- The working title and locations for the shoot for the production
- The name of the applicant
- A statement from the union or guild confirming that the work to be performed has been agreed upon collectively and there is no objection to the foreign worker being employed in the offered position
- The signature of a senior representative in the union or guild
- The date of the signature
Which TV and Film Workers Can Work Without a Work Permit in Canada?
TV and Film workers who do not require a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) and can Work Without a Work Permit are the following:
- Producers of film, television, video, or documentary projects funded completely from outside sources. Producers are required to submit all the corresponding documentation regarding the film production and the amount of time the team is required to stay in Canada.
- All foreign workers are employed under the terms of a co-production agreement between Canada and some other country to make a film production.
- Individuals entering Canada to rent or purchase certain equipment from film and recording studios in Canada, provided they meet certain requirements for the R187.
What Is Another Way to Travel to Canada to Work in the TV and Film Industry?
In certain cases, you may be considered a business visitor based on the type of work you have been hired to perform in the entertainment industry. Such individuals can apply for the Business Visitor. This visa is for foreign nationals who by the nature of the work they perform, or the duration of their work are exempt from the requirement of a work permit in Canada.
Typically, the following positions are eligible for a Business Visitor visa:
Film producers who are traveling to Canada to shoot a foreign-financed movie, TV show, or documentary are eligible for this visa. However, the project must be completely financed by foreign sources. Any collaborations between the foreign production company and Canadian entities will also make it ineligible.
Often, TV shows, concerts, or festivals travel with support staff and essential personnel who are important for the project. As long as they are entering Canada for a limited time, they can apply for a Business Visitor Visa. However, if such employment is recurring in nature, then the applicant will require a temporary work permit.
Foreign artists performing at a show, concert, or festival or appearing as a guest on a TV series or film being produced in Canada can come as business visitors. The engagement must not be recurring.
The approval of your application for a Business Visa depends upon the immigration officer. Therefore, if an immigration officer does not think that your working conditions meet the criteria for a Business Visa, then you may get denied entry to Canada.