Page 6 - Oil&Gas-AustralAsia-2015-Issue-3
P. 6

400 visas - clever visa if you follow the rules

When the Australian government qui- comprehensive and provide detailed terminology wasn’t really standard Oil
etly changed the terms of the electronic submissions if you really need someone and Gas Industry terminology!
Business Visitor visas on 23 March for the longer period and can afford
2013, few people seemed to notice. If a bit of time for the application to be What is a ‘resources
you were lucky enough to hold one of processed. installation’?
these visas, you had work rights for up With 400 visa applications, we encour-
to 6 weeks during the life of the visa so age lodging “an overwhelming body A Resources Installation is a structure
long as the work was of evidence” and in fairness, when we (including a pipeline) or vessel used
• non ongoing do, the visa grants pop right back. We in exploring for or exploiting natural
• highly skilled and do hear many complaints around town resources, or in operations or activities
• to the benefit of Australia. about difficult questions from case associated with or incidental to these.
Generally, scant regard was paid to the officers. In all honesty, we find, if we Resources installations may include
conditions of the visa! Non ongoing lodge full and complete applications mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs)
work was a joke with many workers on addressing everything possible that the and floating production offloading and
rotational contracts popping in and out Immigration response is quick and pos- storage (FPSO) facilities, as well as other
of Australia - some 4 weeks on, four itive. And we get a good turnaround fixed rigs and floating platforms that are
weeks off over a period of years. And when we requests urgent processing used offshore in recovering or processing
we won’t even consider whether or not - when there is good reason. But it is natural resources. Resources installations
they paid any tax! best to apply with some time up your do not include vessels used to transport
Withdrawn as well was the 456 visa sleeve. The visa validity is three months persons or goods to or from a resources
which was a cumbersome paper appli- from first entry and you get three installation (such as a supply vessel), or
cation with roughly similar conditions. months to enter Australia initially - so vessels used in manoeuvring or attaching
It too allowed 6 weeks of work rights try to give a bit of time for processing. a resources installation to the Australian
over the life of the visa - but oddly seabed (such as a pipe laying vessel).
enough some visas were granted for The new Special Purpose Visas
a year at a time - and, you guessed it! - SPVs! And who needs a visa?
People popped in and out, working on
rotation or similar and still not paying In the dying throes of the last Labor Non-citizens other than permanent
Australian tax! It couldn’t last - and Government of Australia, the Migration residents who are participating in, or
it didn’t. The 400 visa was introduced Act 1958 was amended to say that all supporting, an offshore resources activ-
which gives up to three months work non-citizens, other than permanent ity from a ship or specialist vessel are
rights - and in special circumstances - 6 residents, were required to hold an granted Special Purpose Visas (SPVs)
months. It has to be applied for AND appropriate visa to work in Austral- by operation of law.
granted while the applicant is offshore. ia’s offshore oil and gas industry. This Now that we have looked at the tech-
But it does let specialists work in Aus- included people working on Australian nical terms, the process requires the
tralia resources installations, and people par- Master of the vessel to report to the
• without sitting English tests ticipating in, or supporting, an offshore Department of Immigration and Border
• restricting occupations resources activity on vessels. Protection once the vessel enters the
• meeting Australian salaries or qualifi- This caused a fair bit of chaos in the permit or licence area where the off-
cation standards offshore industry and as we are all shore resources activity will be under-
for a full 3 months - and its renewable! aware, there are issues with getting new taken with relevant information.
Not renewable while the visa holder is legislation through the Senate. The
onshore - but case officers are under- current government made amendments And the SPVs are automatically
standing if you can justify a timetable designed to alleviate the effect of the all granted
e.g for a small part of a project to encompassing terms of the legislation
finalise their tasks, and will grant an- and those changes were Disallowed Worth noting is that an SPV cannot be
other visa if they can see good reason. or successfully challenged in the High used to work on a resources installation
Getting a six month visa initially is Court. So what is the current state of or to come onto the mainland when
pretty difficult in most jurisdictions, play? entering at a port. For these purposes,
and if you try, be prepared to lodge very Well firstly, we have to understand what you either need a Visitor visa, or if you
the legislation actually covers as the are working – a 457 or a 400 visa.

A A04 OIL & GAS ustral SIA JULY/AUGUST 2015
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11