Category Archives: Updates

ARTS TOURING ALLIANCE OF ALBERTA: ONSTAGE ONLINE

Presented by the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta, this interactive, free virtual workshop is hosted by artists Von Bieker and Amelie Patterson who will talk about at what it takes for an artist to present a successful live-stream concert.

Discussion will include:

1) Video considerations
2) Sound considerations
3) Platform and monetization considerations
4) Marketing
5) Working with others versus soloist streams

Join them April 10th at 11AM

REGISTER NOW

2021 Richard Cowie Memorial Scholarship Award

JazzYYC and the Calgary Musicians Association are offering a $1000.00 scholarship to an individual who is a professional performing jazz musician. This scholarship is to be used to further the applicant’s studies in jazz (i.e. tuition fees, private lesson fees, workshop fees etc.).

The applicant’s proposal will:

  • present in a clear and concise manner, the applicant’s artistic vision.
  • show leadership in the Calgary jazz community.
  • show some originality of concept.
  • outline how the funds will be used, including a complete budget that includes the Calgary Musicians Association/JazzYYC scholarship funds as part of the overall funds needed for the project and a timeline for when the funds will be used. A written report that includes the actual expenditures will be required at the completion of the project.

 DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS; May 14th, 2021

 All submissions must include the following:

  • contact information.
  • a short personal biography, including your artistic vision.
  • a description of the planned use of the funds, including a timeline for the usage.
  • a complete budget for the project, which includes the use of the scholarship funds.
  • a copy (CD/Album), link or .mp3 of your most recent representative work (please label the case cover for CD/Album submissions).

Mail, email or drop submissions to:

Calgary Musicians Association

#5 - 606 Meredith Rd NE, Calgary, AB   T2E 5A8

info@calgarymusicians.org

The successful applicant will be announced on or before June 4th, 2021.

A performance appearance by the winner will be sponsored and scheduled with JazzYYC for the 2021-22 season, however it will be dependent on COVID restrictions and availability of venues for either live or virtual performances.

USCIS Increases Premium Processing Fee from $1440 to $2500

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will increase fees for premium processing, effective Oct. 19, as required by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, Pub. L. No. 116-159, signed into law on Oct. 1. The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee to expedite the adjudication of certain forms, generally within 15 days. The Act included the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which requires USCIS to establish and collect additional premium processing fees, and to use those additional funds for expanded purposes.

Pub. L. No. 116-159 increases the fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, from $1,440 to $2,500, for all filings (except those from petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, requesting H-2B or R-1 non-immigrant status. The premium processing fee for petitioners filing Form I-129 requesting H-2B or R-1 non-immigrant status is increasing from $1,440 to $1,500. This applies to seasonal Agricultural Workers and Religious Workers)

Any Form I-907 postmarked on or after Oct. 19 must include the new fee amount. If USCIS receives a Form I-907 postmarked on or after Oct. 19 with the incorrect filing fee, we will reject the Form I-907 and return the filing fee. For filings sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.

For more information, please visit https://cfmusicians.afm.org/news/uscis-increases-premium-processing-fee or contact Kaitlyn kvleming@afm.org  or Jill jleger@afm.org in our Artist Immigration Department.

News Bits

Canadian Country Music Award Winners

Mitch Jay - Steel Guitar & Specialty Instrument of the Year

Matty Mackay - Guitar Player of the Year

Lindsay Ell - Interactive Artist of the Year

Lisa Dodd - Bass Player of the Year (Tie)

Justin Kudding - Bass Player of the Year (Tie)

Brendan Waters  - Keyboard Player of the Year

Scott Moffatt  - Record Producer of the Year

Western Canadian Music Award Nominees

Land's End Ensemble - Classical Artist / Ensemble of the Year

Congratulations Life Members

Chuck Garrett

Craig Hutchenreuther

Theresa Kraucunas

Peggy Mezei

Mel Kirby

Transitioning from CERB to the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The Canada Recovery Benefit will provide eligible workers with $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to 26 weeks for those who have stopped working and who are not eligible for EI, or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in two-week periods.

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application/transition.html

P2 Visa Fee Increase on Pause

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prevents U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from implementing fee increases and new forms, which were originally planned to go into effect on October 2, 2020. USCIS has acknowledged the injunction but its webpage for the Form I-129 does not yet reflect this news, nor have the new Form I-129O and I-129MISC been released yet. For now, when filing for O and P guest artists and continue to file with the $460 filing fee. CFM petitioners are monitoring the USCIS website for the very latest information and version of forms before completing and submitting a visa petition.

In other USCIS fee news, the signed legislation that ensures the U.S. government is funded through December 11, 2020 included a section that authorizes USCIS to increase and expand the Premium Processing Service (PPS) fees for certain immigration-related applications. In most cases, the current $1,440 fee for Premium Processing is now authorized to increase to $2,500 and the O and P guest artist visas would fall into this category. The bill also authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish and collect a premium fee for “any other immigration benefit type that the Secretary deems appropriate for premium processing,” and premium fees may be adjusted every two years.

The bill directs the Secretary to “develop and implement processes to ensure that the availability of premium processing, or its expansion to additional immigration benefit requests, does not result in an increase in processing times for immigration benefit requests not designated for premium processing or an increase in regular processing of immigration benefit requests so designated.” However, it has long been the experience of arts petitioners that unexpected and lengthy processing delays of regularly filed petitions will necessitate upgrading to PPS.

It’s not yet known when a new PPS fee might go into effect and whether legal challenges may be filed to prevent their implementation. Until USCIS details its plans for increasing PPS fees, petitioners should continue to file the Form I-907 with the current fee of $1,440.

If you have recently submitted a P2 with the new fee – please email Jill Leger & Kaitlyn Vleming – jleger@afm.org  & kvleming@afm.org  (or call Jill in the office Friday, October 2; Kaitlyn on Monday, October 5).

For more info:

https://cfmusicians.afm.org/news/p2-visa-fee-increase-on-pause

https://cfmusicians.afm.org/services/work-permits 

Important P2 Visa Update

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fee increases effective October 2, 2020.

Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 29th is the DEADLINE to apply under CURRENT FEE ($460USD)

P-Visas $695 USD - recommended processing time 60 calendar days.

Premium Processing $1440 USD (unchanged) - processing time 15 business days.

Large touring ensembles and orchestras of more than 25 performers will be required to remit double the fees noted, and must remit under separate money orders [similar to essential support workers falling under P2-S]

For more details, click HERE and please email Liana White lwhite@afm.org with questions on the fee & administrative changes.

CFM Submission for Federal Pre-Budget Consultations

  • Recommendation 1 (CERB): That the government extend the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) until at least March 31, 2021, but preferably until all crowd prohibitions have been lifted and government allows live performance venues to reopen.

OR: That the government extend the CERB (as above) and restrict the extension to entertainment workers.

AND: That the government extend the CERB (under either of the above scenarios), and increase the $1,000 monthly non-penalized earnings, with a gradual claw-back of benefits, rather than termination of the benefit if the maximum earnings are exceeded.

  • Recommendation 2 (UBI): That the government implement a Universal Basic Income.
  • Recommendation 3 (EI Expansion): That the government expand the Employment Insurance (EI) program to fully include the self-employed, both as contributors and recipients.
  • Recommendation 4 (EI Extension): That the government extend EI Regular Benefits, on a temporary basis, past the maximum claim period by 4-week increments, until such time as government lifts all crowd prohibitions.
  • Recommendation 5 (RRSPs): That the government allow Canadians with Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) accounts to make non-taxable, limited withdrawals and to repay these withdrawals over a defined period.

Respectfully,

Alan Willaert

AFM Vice-President from Canada

Complete submission:

https://cfmusicians.afm.org/uploads/file/2020.07.28%20-%20Pre-Budget%20Consultation%20Submissions.pdf

News release: https://cfmusicians.afm.org/news/written-submission-for-the-pre-budget-consultations