THE Migration Amendment (Offshore Resources Activity) Act 2013 was passed by the Federal Parliament on 27 June 2013, amending the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

Under the legislation, a person will be deemed to be in the migration zone if:

  • he or she is in an area to participate in, or to support, an “offshore resources activity”;
  • where an “offshore resources activity” means –
    • a regulated operation (see s. 7 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (Cth));
    • a licensed or special purpose activity (see s. 4 of the OPGGS Act) being carried out within the area; or
    • an activity, operation or undertaking prescribed in a regulation made by the Minister.

It is important to note that such offshore resources activities may occur in international waters (in the EEZ and above the extended continental shelf) off the Australian coastline. They may occur, for example, on foreign-flagged ships where all people on board are non-citizens.

The reach of the legislation is summarised in the table below.

A person will be in the migration zone if:

Participating in

Supporting

An offshore resources activity:
A regulated operation Under license or special purpose consent Prescribed by the Minister

If deemed to be in the migration zone, a person would be required to comply with the Migration Act, including visa conditions prescribed under the Migration Regulations 1994.

Before the amendments commence, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will develop a specifically tailored visa pathway for offshore resource workers. The conditions of the new visas are intended to include work conditions.

Industry will be consulted about the visa conditions in the second half of 2013 with a view to the new pathway commencing in 2014, possibly on 1 March 2014.

On behalf of AMMA members, AMMA argued strongly against these changes. See, for example:

On behalf of AMMA members, AMMA’s policy and advocacy of Government and Opposition continues, including in relation to the new visa pathway for offshore resource workers.

For more information about AMMA’s policy activities, please contact the AMMA policy team on 1800 627 771.