The new Enterprise Migrations Agreements (EMAs) are among 31 recommendations from the National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce set to be implemented by the government to help address serious shortfalls of skilled tradespeople in Australia in the coming years.
These agreements, which act as an umbrella arrangement to bring overseas temporary migrants into the country, are being put into place to help meet the demand for skills in the resource sector, according to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's new Skilled Migration Blog.
But what do the new EMAs mean for workers and the employers looking to sponsor them?
A consultation carried out by the National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce suggests that the $380 billion of new investment planned for resource projects could result in a shortage of up to 36,000 skilled tradespeople within the next four years.
Skilled workers will be needed in a variety of roles - not only in the mining hubs of Queensland and Western Australia, but also the other major cities to account for workers who will be attracted to jobs in the mining industry.
EMAs will be introduced to ease the burden on the Australian workforce and ensure these projects - which are likely to have long-term economic benefits for the entire country - proceed as planned.
They include a number of agreements prospective employers must adhere to, including evidence of genuine skill shortages and efforts to employ Australian workers first. Over the medium to long-term, training measures will also need to be put into place to increase the number of domestic skilled workers and reduce the reliance on overseas help.
EMAs will guarantee fast processing times for 457 visa applications, the government asserts, in an effort to make business as efficient as possible while at the same time maximising opportunities for local workers.
Projects will only qualify for EMAs if they meet a very specific set of criteria - the value must total more than $2 billion to complete and must provide employment opportunities for at least 1,500 people.
If you are thinking about sponsoring a 457 visa application for a worker or are a skilled worker seeking advice about coming to Australia, an experienced migration lawyer can help.
An immigration lawyer can give you honest, realistic advice about the prospects of your application and will be able to support you through every stage of the visa process.