June 19, 2017 – In the face of visa processing delays, expensive visa fees and recent challenges related to heightened scrutiny, U.S. industry associations have had bipartisan bills introduced in Congress to streamline immigration services for artists. These are worthy efforts, in that they present immigration barriers as a U.S. issue, but their odds of success are fairly low. What about the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement, then?
After all, the situation for Canadian performing artists is so bad under the current iteration of NAFTA, that it cannot really get worse. Therefore, the modernization of the free-trade agreement is likely to be more of an opportunity than a threat.
With this vision in mind, CAPACOA has been collaborating with CIMA and NAPAMA to flag labour mobility as a trade issue and to provide input to the Canadian and U.S. administrations, ahead of the anticipated renegotiations of NAFTA.
CAPACOA also developed a draft position statement and recommendation for labour mobility under the next iteration of NAFTA. This brief in turn informed NAPAMA’s submission in response to a Federal Register Request for Comments on Negotiating Objectives Regarding Modernization of NAFTA. Eleanor Oldham, Past President of NAPAMA, and representative of the Performing Arts Visa Working Group, submitted the comment on behalf of NAPAMA.
CAPACOA’s brief will also be shared with the Canadian government as soon as a process for providing input is announced. Until then, we welcome input from Canadian touring agents, artists and companies.
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