Friday, August 16, 2013

Update on my efforts to go Down Under

My previous blog post described my conversation with an Immigration New Zealand official from Auckland who called me when I was about to board a flight to Auckland from Tokyo. I'm still at a hotel next to Narita Airport, working on figuring out what to do next. Though I wish I had been more circumspect in getting a work visa lined up in advance, this situation is really over the top, with INZ people reading my blog way in advance of my arrival, particularly when I'm from a country that does not require a visa to visit New Zealand. Anyway, for the details up til now you can check out my previous blog entry, but there are some new details that seemed worth mentioning.

Namely, a wonderful immigration lawyer in Christchurch who has been trying to help me out of this situation emailed me today, recounting a conversation he had with the private secretary of a top INZ official. Here's the pertinent bit of the email he wrote to me:

"When I described your situation he aggressively advised me of the rules and said that you couldn’t expect to put them to one side at your choice. When I sensed I was getting nowhere I advised him there could be some political implications for the government and to my surprise he stated he was aware of you as he had read an article you had written on a Marxist blog where you detailed your situation with INZ. When I advised him that I had not mentioned who I was talking about he advised me that he knew it was you. Big Brother is watching you!!!! So the Minister had obviously been alerted to your situation..."

On another note, most of the NZ gigs are still happening without me, so if you're a kiwi, please go check out the gigs! Those who were to be opening acts are now the main acts, and they're great performers. For the Nelson and Wellington gigs I'll be making appearances via Skype, too!

Moving on to Australia, where I'm hoping to go next, whether or not I get into New Zealand (which of course looks increasingly unlikely)...

In the past two tours of Australia I've done, I have entered on a tourist visa and then, before the first gig happened, an agent I've worked with has gotten me a work visa. This is totally legal and happens all the time. For citizens of the US, Canada and a few other countries, getting a tourist visa to Australia is almost automatic. You go to a government website, pay $20, and within seconds you're issued a tourist visa. This is how it's been for me in the past. However, today, applying for the initial tourist visa, I got the following message:

"This system performs checks required by the Australian Government. In a small number of cases, we cannot immediately issue an ETA [Electronic Travel Authority]. Your application is one of these cases. It has been referred to the Australian immigration authorities for further assessment."

So we'll see what happens next with that. Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive, morally and financially, of me in the past couple days. It's helped immensely, and made what could have been a financially and emotionally ruinous experience far more bearable.

New development (a few hours later)...  I just checked the status of my Australian visa application online, as you can do, and received this message:

"Your application has been reviewed by the Australian immigration authorities. It has not been successful."

My agent in Australia will be appealing this.  There's still 12 days before my first gig there, which under normal circumstances, certainly from past experience, should be plenty of time to sort out a temporary work visa.  Guess we'll just see what happens.  Maybe I'll be denied entry into the USA next...?

Latest development:  temporary work visa to Australia has been granted!  Tour of Australia will be going ahead as planned.

17 comments:

Great Escape Games said...

Outrageous! This hardly ever happens. The last case I recall (except for yourself in Canada) is New Model Army being barred from the US in the mid-80's.

If it is indeed as pernicious as it appears, then you're obviously doing something right!

Papillon said...

Wow. Doing something very right indeed! That means they're listening to your songs and hearing them right. They are sooooo afraaaaaid of David! Good luck David. I hope to catch one of your gigs in the Netherlands.

hari pacche said...

This is amazing, I mean Amazon-joe NoLieber-man action. The entire world is indeed a village ...under threat of ..dont stir the pot or well burn you. Good song for the moment is Little Axe by Bob marley, I have no doubt David can match it. We are all watching, as they say in the USA bastion of free speech after all we invented the First Amendment, we got your back cant do much about your ass in the visa section though.

Rohan

Goldshred said...

Sorry to hear that the frameworks of bureaucracy prevent you from visiting. Suffice it to say that amongst we ordinary New Zealanders, the few who'd actively oppose your coming are surely much outnumbered by those who'd be completely fine with it.

alanbumstead said...

The NZ fiasco - I'd never heard of you. I have now. I live in Hong Kong & will be coming to your show. Something of a success.

J.L. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.L. said...

I heard you play at Canterbury Universtity's Student Association when you were last in NZ and had a great time at your gig - was a lot of fun! Stupid Immigration officials, stupid puppet government. And the hipocracy; NZ has one of the highest rates of drug use per capita anywhere in the western world!

localandbespoke.com said...

Hoping to see you in Australia soon!

Avaiki Nius said...

Beyond scary that our authorities are getting this petty - except that it is even scarier because authoritarianism is anything but petty.

David Rovics said...

thanks for all the support, folks! had a nice skype gig "in" nelson tonight. skype gig "in" wellington on monday!

GG said...

You do understand that the visa waiver program isn't open-ended, right? There are eligibility requirements. Being denied entry, removed from or banned from any other country makes you ineligible. It wouldn't matter if you were a New Zealander traveling to the US or an American traveling to Australia, if you don't meet the eligibility requirements, you need to apply for a visa or undergo further screening.

Shayne O said...

It sounds like some paranoid security theatre bureacrat has gotten some weird conspiracy theory in their head again.

I mean I sort of expect this out of kiwi intelligence (This is the mad mob that once decided to arreast pretty much the entire left because the intel cops thought they where doing paramilitary training, something it took a judge to *very angrilly* dismiss and throw out of court) , or the time when the kiwis arrested some poor algerian guy based on larouchite conspiracy theories, or the fact that nz seems to have more 'israel spies' arrested per head of population than anywhere else in the world, probably including the west bank. Yeah, kiwi intelligence needs to start taking thorazine.

But I never new australian intelligence to share that craziness. I guess they talk...

I wonder whats the bee in their bonnett?

Shayne O said...

It sounds like some paranoid security theatre bureacrat has gotten some weird conspiracy theory in their head again.

I mean I sort of expect this out of kiwi intelligence (This is the mad mob that once decided to arreast pretty much the entire left because the intel cops thought they where doing paramilitary training, something it took a judge to *very angrilly* dismiss and throw out of court) , or the time when the kiwis arrested some poor algerian guy based on larouchite conspiracy theories, or the fact that nz seems to have more 'israel spies' arrested per head of population than anywhere else in the world, probably including the west bank. Yeah, kiwi intelligence needs to start taking thorazine.

But I never new australian intelligence to share that craziness. I guess they talk...

I wonder whats the bee in their bonnett?

En Passant with John Passant said...

hi Dave, Can I post this on my blog in Australia, En Passant, to let people in my country know of this disgraceful attack on you and by implication all of us fighting for a better world.

David Rovics said...

john (and anyone else), definitely feel free to re-post anything from any of my blog posts! thanks a lot!

hari pacche said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula de Angelis said...

Hi David,
I'm an Australian, and a fan, after I went to a gig of yours in Detroit last year. I will do what I can to help get you here, but in the meantime I have told a friend of mine, currently living in Tokyo, about your plight. I'm sure she will help out a fellow musician. We'll keep in touch.
Cheers, Paula