Sydney band Set Sail have suffered a serious setback over the weekend after their lead singer Brandon Hoogenboom was instead sent packing as he was deported from the country by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for breaching his visa.

Hoogenboom, an American citizen, had been in the country on a tourist visa and had not applied for the right to work despite the band being represented by the Harbour Agency, a division of Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.

His two Australian bandmates assert they didn’t pay Hoogenboom for his services and therefore thought that his involvement with the band would not a breach of his tourist visa which allows for volunteer work.

But a quick search on the department’s website, something he and his bandmates obviously didn’t bother going to the effort of, clearly states that his activities would be in breach of his tourist visa.

According to the department’s website someone can undertake volunteer work on a tourist visa only under the following conditions:

Your main purpose in visiting Australia is tourism, and any voluntary work remains incidental to this

The work involved would not otherwise be undertaken, in return for wages, by an Australian resident

The work is genuinely voluntary and that no remuneration is received in return for the activities.

Clearly Hoogenboom does not meet this criteria and despite violinist Josiah Willows assertion that the band knew no better they must have known they were at the very least walking on extremely thin ice.

Now before you jump down our throats no one wins when something like this happens to a promising local band, and we take no pleasure in hearing about this news. But musicians, just like everyone else, need to make sure that they are acting within the parameters of the law before they conduct their business.

Willows spoke to Street Press Australia earlier to give his side of the story saying “We thought that since we didn’t pay him for the shows, they could be treated as volunteer work and not illegal work as there’s a provision in the tourist visa that we thought allowed for volunteer work while on that visa.”

“I started a Facebook petition [read: Facebook event] at 4.30am Wednesday to rally support to bring him back, a day later and it’s already at 8,000 confirmed [users] and 38,000 invited. We’re hoping to get 40,000 by Monday so it’s a good start”

“As for industry, we’re signed with Harbour Agency so they’ve been working along with other industry allies behind the scenes to put forward a sponsorship application to bring him in on an Entertainment Visa, something that we’re incredibly grateful to them for.”

“The immigration lawyers we’ve consulted feel that there is at least a good chance that the application will be looked favourably upon and successfully go through. As for 40,000, I’m not sure, but if it keeps growing the way it is hopefully there’ll be 100,000 supporters on that event by decision time.”

The band have vowed to relocate to the States if they can’t get Hoogenboom back into the country. Let’s hope they do the right thing this time and apply for the proper visa.

Artists who wish to travel to Australia or musicians who wish to play gigs here and are not Australian residents or citizens should apply for an entertainment visa or working visa from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

More information about the types of visas available can be found on the departments website.

So what do you think? Should Hoogenboom have been deported? Sound out in the comments and let us know your thoughts.

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