Government closes overseas workers loop hole

In a bid to close a glaring loop hole in immigration law, the Gillard government has moved to extend the application of the migration zone to Australia’s offshore resources industry.

Currently vessels engaged in laying pipeline on the seabed for resources projects are not subject to the migration zone, meaning no work visa is required for overseas workers on board such vessels.

Immigration and Citizenship Minister Brendan O’Connor said proposed amendments to the Migration Act would enable all Australian industry and employers to be regulated under Australian law, including those located in the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf.

The changes follow the recommendation of the Migration Maritime Taskforce, established after the Allseas court case in May 2012.

The amendments, if passed by Parliament, would come into effect in 2014, to allow time to consult with industry, unions and other stakeholders on the terms of a dedicated new visa for offshore resource industry workers from overseas.

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