New resource projects in Australia could bring in more foreign workers

08 August 2012

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has announced new resources projects in Queensland and Western Australia that may make more positions available for skilled foreign workers. Bowen said only a small number of resource companies have applied for permission to bring in foreign workers and so far only one has received conditional approval.

"The size of these projects is well known so it's not hard to figure out which ones qualify. There is a small number that have applied. Obviously the negotiations are commercially in-confidence. They are detailed and take some time," said Bowen. He explained that while it is easy for Australian immigration to determine which projects qualify, it's not necessarily easy for every project to qualify.

While Bowen would not specify which projects had applied, there have been plans announced for opening new mines in central Queensland. Enterprise migration agreements are available to resource projects with capital expenditure of more than AUS$2 billion and with a peak workforce of more than 1500 workers but companies applying must show they were not able to hire an Australian to fill the position first.

Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said: "Australian business and their investors need greater certainty that they would be able to find workers."

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