Australia’s Labor Party is being warned that offshore oil rigs could be at risk should changes to foreign worker visas, such as the 400 and 457 visas, go ahead. In Parliament on May 2nd, 2016, the Labor Party put forward proposals to cancel the visas of foreign workers in the oil and gas industry.
According to comments published in The Australian, those opposed to the proposals say that cancelling the visas of foreign workers could result in the ‘shut down of critical parts of the industry sector, costing hundreds of millions and inflicting substantial reputation damage on Australia.’
However, That he planned to proceed with a dis-allowance motion, under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (LIA). A dis-allowance motion is an action that can result in changes in the law.
If successful, Carr’s dis-allowance motion would result in facilities such as oil and drilling rigs being unable to use foreign workers on highly skilled 400 or 457 visas. “We’ll proceed with the dis-allowance motion because there’s been far too many abuses of the 457 visa regime.”
If enacted the 457 visa changes will cause serious problems for the Oil and Gas Sector and the economy
With over $200 billion worth of projects currently in operation or due to start, the offshore oil and gas sector fears that dis-allowance motion will result in costly delays to extraction, exploration and construction activities.
dis-allowance motion comes at a time when the Maritime Union of Australia, an organisation that represents over 10,000 of Australia’s sea workers, is pursuing a High Court challenge to oppose government visa proposals in the oil and gas sector. Government plans include a ‘ministerial exemption of vessels from Australia’s migrant zone’, according to The Australian.
Plans to expel overseas workers from the industry sector follow a fierce campaign launched by the Labor Party and a number of unions in 2015, opposing the lab-our provisions in the milestone China free-trade deal, which saw lab-our-market testing provisions lifted and the mandatory skills assessment being scrapped.
The head of the Australian Mines and Metals Association, immigration spokesman for the opposition, warning him that the dis-allowance motion would spark an ‘imminent crisis’ should it gain support from the Senate.
If Australian 457 visa changes Oil and Gas Rigs may have to leave Australia
It is stated that preventing the sector from using overseas personnel will result in delays, damage Australia’s international reputation, force domestic drill crews to stop work and lead to rigs leaving the country altogether. “Every one of the six or seven offshore drill rigs that are currently operating off the coast of Australia would have several international expats on board under 400 or 457 visas. These are key senior people who travel around the world with the rig. “The cost of running each rig is in the realm of $1 million a day.”
“If those senior personnel are not able to work because the regulation has been disallowed, the junior Australian drill crew cannot work either and they would have to be stood down. It would be impossible to get an Australian worker to work those rigs and the rigs would have to leave Australia.”
‘ The key parliamentary instrument which specifies appropriate visas for foreign workers, parliament would effectively be washing its hands of the issue.’That because a regulation disallowed by parliament can only be resubmitted after a six-month duration, the ‘government’s hands will be tied’ and will leave ‘no scope to provide work rights and certainty.’