Employment And Visa Conditions For Offshore Workers Now Regulated After Migration Act Fix

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[Picture: MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin]

The Maritime Union of Australia today welcomed the passage of legislation that puts in place a critical fix to a serious gap in the Migration Act.

The bill closes a gap in the Migration Act that was exposed in the Federal Court judgement in the Allseas case in 2012. The gap meant that the Australian Government was currently unable to regulate employment and visa conditions for workers on nearly all projects in the offshore oil and gas industry that are located outside the Migration Zone.

This new legislation will deem those workers to be inside the Migration Zone.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin praised the Government and, in particular, Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor, Senate Leader Penny Wong and incoming Treasurer Chris Bowen, who had worked on the fix during his tenure as Immigration Minister, for delivering a long-awaited solution, which passed with the support of the Greens and Independents.

“This legislative solution now creates a level playing field so that all workers, irrespective of origin, can have their migration status regulated and hence their employment standards regulated,” Mr Crumlin said.

“We can now end the exploitation of temporary guest workers in the critical offshore oil and gas industry, and ensure that employment, safety, training and occupational licensing requirements can be brought up to Australian legal and industrial standards.

“Passing this legislation shows how much we can get done when we have a Parliament committed to functional decision-making, uniting the votes of Labor, Greens and Independents for the benefit of people.”

Mr Crumlin also noted that the new regime would have important national security benefits for Australia by ensuring that the Government has the tools to monitor non-nationals working on our critical resource installations.

“We look forward to working with the government on the implementation of the legislation,” he said.