The Government has announced new visa arrangements for the offshore resources industry

"New visa arrangements for offshore resources workers are designed to ensure minimal red tape and regulation for those facing the burden of unnecessary legislation implemented by the former Labor Government and due to come into effect on 29 June 2014.

Speaking at the 2014 Australian Resource People Summit in Perth, Minister Cash confirmed that the government continued to pursue the repeal of the Migration Amendment (Offshore Resources Activity) Act 2013 (or the 'ORA Act').

Minister Cash noted however that if the Senate did not pass the repeal bill before it is due to take effect, the new visa arrangements that have to be implemented have been designed to ensure minimal regulatory impact.

This legislation was rushed through the former Parliament under the previous government despite serious concerns from industry in relation to the impact of it and the fact that the legislation appeared to cater for sectional interests as opposed to the national interest.

'The government understands the value of the offshore oil and gas industry to the national economy. We are concerned that the ORA Act will impose an additional regulatory burden, and additional costs, on this critical sector and have done our very best to ensure that this does not occur.'

'The new visas arrangements use existing visas that the industry is already familiar with. This will make it easier to manage the transition, and avoid the costs of developing and implementing a new visa'.

Under the new visa arrangements announced today, all people who are subject to the ORA Act will need to hold either a permanent visa, or one of the following:

•the maritime crew visa for articled crew members of vessels who are participating in, or supporting, an offshore resources activity

•the temporary work (short stay activity) (subclass 400) visa for people undertaking short-term, highly specialized, non-ongoing work

•the temporary work (skilled) (subclass 457) visa for people being sponsored by an approved business for up to four years.

Further information on the new visa arrangements for the offshore resources industry is available at Department of Immigration and Border Protection website."