New Visa Arrangements For Workers In Australia’s Offshore Oil And Gas Industry

From 31 March 2015, new visa arrangements took effect for people who are aiming to work in Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry.

Under the Migration Act 1958, the requirement for all non-citizens other than permanent residents is to hold an acceptable visa to work in Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry. This includes employees on Australian resources installations, and people who are participating in, or supporting, an offshore resources activity on vessels.

It is reported that non-citizens other than permanent residents planning to work on a resources installation should hold either a Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa or a Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa for highly specialised and non-ongoing work.

In addition, people who are participating in, or supporting, an offshore resources activity from a ship or specialist vessel are granted Special Purpose Visas (SPVs) by operation of law.

The SPV takes effect when the non-citizen, on a vessel, enters the permited or licenced area where the offshore resources activity will be undertaken, and the vessel has been reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Because a SPV is granted by operation of law, employees engaged on these vessels are not required to lodge a visa application or pay a visa application charge for the SPV.