Mailing#3

Dear AFM Local 406 Members:

You should have all received the Special Announcement email on February 19, 2014 from AFM Local 406.  In response to the comments made by Local 406 on obtaining temporary work permits to perform in the United States I asked Liana White, Executive Director of CFM, to prepare the following information in response to those specific comments.

Sincerely & fraternally,

a_willaert

Alan Willaert, Vice President from Canada

Canadian Musicians in the USA:
THE TRUTH ABOUT OBTAINING U.S. TEMPORARY WORK PERMITS

When it comes to foreign musical artists performing in the United States it is the American Federation of Musicians which is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] recognized stakeholder and peer organization. AFM’s involvement in US immigration matters for musicians is not limited to petitioning for the P2 classification.  Therefore, even when AFM is not the petitioner of a work permit, petitions for all classifications of temporary work permit for foreign musical artists must still go through the USCIS mandated AFM consultation process.  If the mandatory peer consultation letter is not attached to the petition at the time of filing with USCIS they automatically contact the AFM.  Likewise, stage actors require a mandatory peer consultation letter from Actors Equity, film actors from SAG-AFTRA, technical workers from IATSE, choral performers [solely vocals, no instruments] from AGMA, and so on.

AFM members are not charged a fee but non-members must pay $250-$300 USD to AFM for the mandatory consultation.  The consultation fee is atop the cost of the petition fee [$325 USD minimum] and the cost associated with engaging a professional to prepare and file the petition, such professional services will typically cost $2,500 USD, sometimes more, depending upon the type of permit being petitioned for.

Providing this service is not quick and easy nor financially lucrative for a not-for-profit organization and union.   There are many administrative expenses, one example of which is the cost to send daily couriers to USCIS, which AFM spends over $20,000 on annually. The AFM’s administration fee merely off-sets the vast administrative costs incurred by the AFM – the AFM rarely breaks even in an effort to keep the cost to members as low as possible.

If Local 406 has financial difficulty in meeting its bargaining obligations as mandated under Québec Provincial Status, they will find it even more financially straining to absorb all of the administrative costs and processing fees associated with this type of service.

There are guidelines and criteria to meet under each US temporary work permit classification, therefore, one cannot just obtain any classification of permit desired.  To be a successful petitioner, as AFM/CFM has been for the last 30+ years, one needs to know the US immigration system well.  It’s easy for anyone to say they can do the paperwork, but can they actually produce the most important piece of paper to the process – the Approved work permit?   If you would like more detailed information on the various classifications of US work permits, please email Liana White lwhite@afm.org , for English services and Fatima Gueye fgueye@afm.org for French services.

5 thoughts on “Mailing#3

  1. Apparently; the Guild agrees with our position stated in Mailing#3. The following is a direct quote from the GMMQ website.

    Visas and Permits
    Did you know that it is easier for GMMQ members to obtain a temporary work permit (P2 visa) for the United States?
    As a GMMQ member, you are automatically a member of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM). AFM is recognized by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as an authorized petitioner for temporary work permits on behalf of AFM member musicians. Therefore, Canadian members who wish to perform (work) in the United States may apply through GMMQ-AFM for a “Class P2″ non-immigrant work permit instead of engaging a lawyer or visa service agency who specialize in immigration and at much higher rates.

  2. (borrowed from another of my posts elsewhere)

    As we sit shivering and horrified, in our Canadian lifeboats, watching the grand ‘Titanic’ ship of state of Quebec sink to its’ demise below the frigid waters, (taking with it the drowning 3rd class non AFM members) we are reminded of its’ slogan…’but it’s unsinkable’! OOOOOOOPS pas coulable! (sp?)

    If it had been a ‘separate’ ship, they say, it would have survived. PQ iceberg? What PQ iceberg???

    No we cannot discuss abandoning AFM without looking at Que. social angst.

    Not many posts here! No-one seems to care any more.

    AFM, and CFM are perceived as ‘foreign’ bodies. Not from ‘Chez Nous’.

    How can you reason with these people?

    Short answer…you cannot…just spitting in the wind.

    Maybe they will stay, maybe not, who cares. Not the players in Toronto, Calgary, or Vancouver. Too busy trying to keep their chops up to International standards.

    The world is in crisis, the economy is in crisis, the environment is in crisis, and these people in 406 wonder why they are not taken seriously.

    Again…bye bye guys…I hear McDonald’s is hiring.

  3. Un Moment SVP. I’m a member in good standing for a long time. Used to be 406 Montreal now its 406 Quebec. Our presence has been diluted by this shift in jurisdiction. In Montreal, I am not alone in wishing to remain part of AFM CFM and keep our access to the world outside Quebec. Some of us intend to continue to require AFM’s help in obtaining visas, our pensions, our access to international employment and CBC etc etc etc. I expect that the AFM and the CFM will continue to exist after the very possible scenario whereby a “referendum” on separation from the international community is successful in this act of local self destruction. We longstanding members of the AFM who wish to maintain our longstanding links must be able to somehow opt out of this act and keep our affiliations intact. Does this require transferring membership to a different local? What is the plan. I’m ready but I don’t know what to do. Of course I will vote BUT as I said before, the presence of the cosmopolitan musician based in Montreal has become seriously diluted and I don’t expect a vote to go anywhere but towards a foolhardy separation. What do we do next?

  4. Dear Sam, et al…

    You express the essence of the present 406 problem, (and by extension many problems unique to Quebec), having to waste time, and energy, on non musical BS.

    As professional musicians we need to practise to keep up with the competition, not worry and fret about administrative matters. That’s why we have a Union. That’s why we have accountants etc. Sorry….but it costs money!

    Although I am a bit naughty to have posted many highly cynical comments, these have been based on 47 long and lucrative years in the AFM, and a great sadness to witness the end of a ‘golden era’ of plentiful quality work.

    Why is the 406 administration trying to destroy your future???

    Are they living in ‘La La Land’???

    The AFM is not going to put up with any nonsense. Look at the Vancouver local. It’s in trusteeship. AFM just fired the administration, so don’t expect ‘special status’. You either stay on the bus or hitch hike at the side of the road with your suitcase.

    And look at the number of posts after a full month, compared to the entire 406 membership. One and a bit per day, many from out of town. That says it all. Very few still in Montreal or Quebec seem to care.

    So my advice to you all (once again ad nauseum… sorry) is to practise night and day, and get a good gig in another jurisdiction.

    Otherwise… good luck.

    Or… have something to fall back on like teaching, or a trade.

    sad dr. bean

  5. Dear Kristin, thanx for the AFM convention link.

    Re 406, two words concluded the convention debate…’extraordinarily complicated’.

    It is just too expensive and time consuming to deal both Internationally and nationally under Canadian and American rules, and as well, locally with Quebec’s civil code.

    That is why business is (reluctantly) choosing 401 and 417.

    There comes a time when competitiveness, efficiency, and cost out way emotion.

    It will be cheaper and easier to join the Ottawa local if you wish to stay AFM.

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