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Richard Smirke discovers how the industry's immigration experts are dealing with ever-more complex red tape
By IQ on 21 Nov 2017
“One thing that you can always count on is that everything is in a constant state of flux, and the changes will probably happen quicker than you can keep up with,” says Michelle Rubio about navigating the many challenges and potential pitfalls that exist within the complex world of visa services, immigration and work permits.
“The goalposts are always changing, and very often people aren’t on the same page,” elaborates Rubio, a senior manager for Los Angeles-based Creative Mind Access Visas & Passport Services. She casts her mind back to this summer for an example of just a few of the many unexpected complications that can derail the process and – in the worst-case scenario – potentially lead to delayed or cancelled shows.
“I had just submitted some visa applications to the Russian consulate in San Francisco when President Trump ordered its immediate closure,” recalls Rubio. “Thankfully, there was a delay with the courier and they didn’t show up on time, so the applications couldn’t be submitted. Otherwise, all my [clients’] passports would have been stuck there.
“I’m normally cursing couriers, but, oh, my god, that was a wonderful mistake.”
“In the current political climate, with increasing local labour protectionism, planning strategically … is more important than ever”
The incident also gives some small insight into the wealth of unpredictable hurdles that immigration specialists can face on a day-to-day basis when applying for permits.
“In the current political climate, with increasing local labour protectionism, looking ahead, planning strategically and understanding the visa process requirements and consulate processing times is more important than ever,” agrees Sophie Amable, director of AE Visas USA, which primarily deals with UK and European artists and crew travelling to North America.
“Immigration is changing globally, and US immigration is also changing all the time, so getting expert advice before the time of booking is really important and can save you a lot of time and money,” she states.
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