The changes are the result of a review of the permanent employer-sponsored program which was conducted during 2011. The visas affected are the permanent Employer Nomination Scheme, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme and Labour Agreements.
Through EMAs, major resource projects will be able to access overseas labour for genuine skill vacancies which cannot be filled from the Australian labour market. EMAs will streamline negotiation arrangements for access to overseas workers and guarantee fast processing times for visa applications.
With a range of resources projects entering the labour-intensive construction phase in the next few years, access to overseas labour will help to ensure that the peak workforce needs of these projects are met, easing capacity constraints and ensuring economic and employment benefits can be realised.
EMAs will be a custom-designed, project-wide migration arrangement uniquely suited to the resources sector, ensuring that skill shortages do not create constraints on major projects and jeopardise Australian jobs.