One of the onerous tasks associated with concert tour management is that of arranging work permits and visas in order for the travelling party to enter certain countries. I say onerous as the tour manager has to deal with foreign government organisations that have extremely strict procedures and regulations regarding the admittance of hairy rock stars into their country. As borders are tightened (not only because of the fear of terrorism but also to protect local employment and revenue) the application process and subsequent granting of authorisation to enter particular countries is becoming even more difficult, time consuming and expensive.
The need for work permits/visas is based on the assumption that you are entering a country for employment. Ok, playing a bunch of rock shows would not be classed as ‘employment’ by most people but technically a band is employed/engaged by a promoter for a fee – therefore they are gainfully employed a.k.a working.
The actual application for work permits will usually be made by the promoter. It is they who are employing the act and they are (hopefully) based in the country of the engagement.
However it falls upon the tour manager to gather up all the necessary information about the touring personnel, keep on top of the application process and make sure that the associated costs are budgeted for. Work visa/applications are expensive and, once the process starts, impossible to amend or change. A major problem the tour manager will encounter is the lack of solid information about the crew or supplementary musicians for the tour.
Through experience this lack of information can involve such things as the band deciding they are taking some session musicians for the next tour but not knowing exactly who they are going to hire, applications being submitted for crew members only for those crew members to be fired/become unavailable after the applications have gone through or (my personal favourite) the band turning up at the airport with ‘our great mate who is coming on tour to tech for us.’ (with no airplane ticket or work visa!).
A good tour manager will impress upon the band and their management the necessity of providing the touring party information in very good time and being aware of the associated costs.