17 October 2012

Australia visa deal still stalling five months on

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The Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) granted to Gina Rinehart in May is still to be finalised, despite reports that the world's richest woman had been given the go ahead to bring in over 1,700 workers on an Australia visa.

Australia visa

The Roy Hill project, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, is still awaiting progress on its Australia visa agreement.

Ms Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting became the first company to be granted an EMA in May and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen since confirmed that at least 10 similar agreements, which allow resource projects to being in large numbers of foreign workers on an Australia visa, were in the pipeline.

However, it has now emerged that Ms Rinehart's original deal, signed in May, is yet to be resolved.

The original deal allowed Ms Rinehart to import 1,715 foreign workers over the course of the next three years for her AU$9.5 billion (£5.9 billion) Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

However, Australian immigration officials confirmed yesterday that Roy Hill did not yet have a complete agreement for bringing in the workers, instead saying the deal announced in May was an 'in-principle agreement that is not legally binding, but is subject to ongoing negotiations and agreement on detail'.

Darryl Hockey, a spokesperson for the Roy Hill project, quickly moved to downplay the importance of the EMA on the project’s progress but stressed that it was still expected to be completed eventually.

"With the EMA the federal government has provided us with a surety that we will be able to source workers from overseas if we can't source them from Australia," said Mr Hockey.

"The EMA is therefore an insurance policy which is critical in the securing of finance."


The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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