Canadian Dollar Value Lures Film & Television
With the Canadian Dollar attracting Hollywood, what’s the value of US work visas?
With the decline of the Canadian dollar, many American productions in film & television are moving to Canada in order to get the most out of their funding. This has seen an increase in the film industry in Vancouver and Toronto. With this in mind, is it still valuable for a Canadian professional to get work authorization in the United States when it seems like more work is moving to Canadian shores? The nature of these productions, as well as history, points to yes.
One important thing to remember is that many American productions are frequently conducting work on both sides of the border. A Canadian producer looking to work on an American TV program that is shooting in Canada, for example, would need work authorization in the form of a visa in order to really be involved in the full production process. If one is to be paid on American soil from an American company, work authorization is a must. It’s not worth it to play it fast and loose, especially since such unauthorized work can count against you in future work visa petitions. The consequences vary, but are across the board not worth the trouble: investigations, bars from entry, and other punitive actions can follow you for a long time.
Work authorization is not just flexibility, but protection for the future.
Canada has a bi-lateral production agreement with the United States, but not all jobs are reserved for local hires. Many jobs are still reserved for those that can work in America, and these are typically top-rung positions. If the goal is to work your way up to a stable, executive level, a visa allows you the flexibility to work your way up the ladder at a faster rate.
The relationship between the American dollar the Canadian dollar has always impacted film and television. The early 90s saw a similar boom of American productions packing up for north of the border, but like many economic principles, these things ebb and flow. They work in a cycle. There will always be cross-border productions given the physical and cultural proximity of the two nations, and to be part of that reality, it’s important to have the right work authorization. Both countries have their advantages that will attract different sorts of film & television productions, and work authorization is not just flexibility, but protection for the future. The relationship the American and Canadian film and television industries have is unique; taking advantage of it is in the best interest of all film & television professionals.
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