The Federal Court ruled The Solitaire (pictured) and The Lorelay were not subject to Australia visa policy.
23 May 2012
AU$43 billion gas project gets Australia visa waiver
A AU$43 billion (£27 billion) resources project off the coast of Western Australia has been given the go ahead by the Federal Court after ruling that employees are working outside of the migration zone and therefore do not require a working Australia visa.
Justice Neil McKeeracher in Perth's Federal Court ruled that Swiss contractor Allseas Construction's two pipe laying vessels, The Lorelay and The Solitaire, do not constitute 'resources installations' as defined in the Migration Act and therefore employees working on the vessels do not require an Australia visa.
Progress on the project looked set to be shut down last month after Australian workers' unions staged protests amid claims of favouring overseas workers. Allseas Construction had employed foreign workers either on tourist or business visas, which do not allow employment on the Australian mainland.
The project was halted, at a cost of AU$1 million (£640,000) a day, while the issue was resolved and now progress will resume.
The Lorelay and The Solitaire are laying pipelines under the seabed between gas fields 130 km off the coast of Barrow Island.
Justice McKerracher said as the vessels were not fixed structures or mobile units as defined in the Migration Act and are not 'on board' the actual pipes being laid, workers are not part of the migration zone and are therefore exempt from visa restrictions.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian visa application with the Australian High Commission.