Section 10 - Working abroad
10. Working abroad
This provides a general and introductory overview only as each country and circumstance may vary.
10.1. Visas and permits
Travel and work document requirements vary. Clarify who is responsible for the procedure and cost. The following applies when you are responsible, however it is wise to understand the process even if an engager is responsible.
Start the process early. Contact the country’s embassy and the organization engaging you for estimates on how long the process will take. Whenever possible, visit an embassy in person; email can be very slow. On the telephone or in person, record the name of whom you spoke to so you can speak to the same person again or refer to them by name in the next conversation with another embassy representative.
Generally speaking, work permits are likely to be required in order to work legally. However, there are examples of legal work in some countries on visitor or even tourist visas. Know your status; CADA-ON cautions members against working illegally as you will have no recourse if you run into trouble.
Visas can be expensive. Clarify the cost and include in your written contract whether the engager or you is responsible. CADA-ON recommends that the engager pay for your visa; If so, determine if you will be required to pay up front and be reimbursed (and when) or if the engager will pay in advance.
For working in the U.S., be sure and consult the On The Road Touring Handbook, Chapter 8, Tips for U.S. Touring (see Resources).
If your contract is written in a language for which you do not have a good working knowledge, get it translated. First ask questions of the engager. Face-to-face translation provides you with the opportunity to ask questions. Take a grassroots approach to finding a translator; contact an ethno-cultural club associated with the language in question or ask at the embassy.
Ask that your contract include information on tax and other deductions. Foreign worker tax payments can be very high.
If you choose to work under conditions where travel, accommodation and per diems are provided but not an artist fee, ensure that the date of your return ticket can be changed at no cost to you, otherwise, you would have no recourse if conditions have not met the terms of the contract.
A letter can serve as a contract, however, CADA-ON recommends that you undertake a written contract itemizing each consideration.
Contact the relevant embassy to learn required inoculations and do so well in advance of your departure. Talk to your doctor. Some inoculations require specific time gaps between them. Expect to pay for inoculations and learn the cost well in advance so a nasty surprise won’t jeopardize your plans.
If you are an Ontario resident with OHIP coverage, know your status with OHIP. (Visit their website, see Resources section.) Generally, OHIP coverage requires you to be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in any 12-month period in order to qualify for continuous coverage. Consult OHIP to determine whether you qualify for Mobile Worker status under OHIP. Attend to this well in advance.
This step is important less for your coverage out-of-country than it is for your coverage when you return. The amount of OHIP coverage for services provided while out of the country is very limited; therefore, you should consider obtaining supplementary insurance from a private insurance company.
Visit the Government of Canada Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Travel Reports and Warnings webpage for travel advisories on health and safety issues as well as the World Health Organization International Travel and Health page (see Resources). Dance Umbrella Ontario also has a page in Step by Step: Running a Dance Business, What Do I Need To Know About Immigration and Crossing Border? (see Resources).