MUA Welcomes Bowen Fixing Offshore Worker Loophole

The Australian Government’s announcement today that it will amend the Migration Act to clarify whether guest workers on offshore projects need to have 457 visas has been welcomed as a great win for offshore workers by the Maritime Union of Australia.

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Allseas contested the application of the legislation earlier this year in the Federal Court, arguing that their employees are not working in Australia’s migration zone and therefore do not need to obtain 457 workers visas.

“Australian workers were excluded by one operator from working on one of these nationally important,high risk and rapidly growing projects through exploiting a technicality in the law,” MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said.

“The MUA has campaigned hard to close this gap in the legislation, which effectively denied Australians jobs in these offshore projects.

“The legislation also meant that workers on those projects were being paid less than Australian wages and conditions and their employer avoided any requirements of meeting worker visa criteria.

“We thank the Australian Government for listening to our concerns and for responding to close this loophole, which has been exploited by companies like Allseas, which was operating under a Chevron tender.

“We are extremely pleased that the Australian Government is clarifying that it will regulate the employment arrangements for all workers in the Australian resources industry, including guest workers.

“The current system has led to industrial uncertainty about terms and conditions of employment of guestworkers.

“The Maritime Union of Australia looks forward to participating in the Australian Government’s review to assist in developing the legislative amendments required and we look forward to seeing the legislation introduced in early 2013.

“We are confident that Minister Bowen’s announcement will gain widespread support across the resources sector, which has been concerned about the uncertainty and the inequitable situation that currently exists, and which is impacting on tendering for offshore work,” Mr Crumlin said.