Offshore workers could be clear of visa conundrum

A determination by the immigration minister of Australia has removed the visa requirements for workers on offshore oil and gas vessels.

Australia is currently going through a natural gas investment boom. From the Darling Downs to Jansz-lo offshore gas field, the number of projects is increasing as new deposits are discovered and explored.

Do you have experience in Malaysia well control? Australia might be your next working destination.

With the ABC reporting that over $200 billion is being injected into the Liquid Natural Gas sector, workers with oil and gas qualifications are in high demand. In response, the Australian government has eased the visa requirements for workers employed on offshore oil and gas projects.

Visas no longer a headache

with the range of opportunities, finding employment in Australia is not always a problem. However, in the past, visas have presented a major stumbling block for professionals with Australian well control training.

This is all about to change. In December last year, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton created an exemption for workers on vessels in the offshore oil and gas industry from visa requirements. While the move is can create offshore infrastructure jobs and other oil and gas related roles, it is experiencing a pushback from other stakeholders.

However, the resource industry employer group AMMA believes that the ill-informed removal of the workable solution could lead to major problems further down the track.

Scott Barklamb, executive director at AMMA, said that implementing visa requirements could put critical projects at risk, negatively impacting living standards and work opportunities created by the $200 billion industry.

“Only a handful of these highly specialised offshore construction vessels exist globally – they aren’t taxi-cabs where local operators can be easily subbed-in and out. Each vessel uses highly specialised technology not available in Australia and has significant capital invested in them,” he said.

“A small permanent crew travels with these ships to operate them safely around the world. Australian maritime workers – often upwards of 100 – are contracted to the ship through Australian labour hire companies. These ships create jobs for Australians and will continue to do so.”

Offshore gas vessels could be staffed with visaless workers.
Offshore gas vessels could be staffed with visaless workers.

What does this mean for employment opportunities in Australia?

While the changes are currently the focus of the Supreme Court, if they are allowed to be implemented, there could be a number of job opportunities for people with the right qualifications. In other words, professionals with oil and gas training could be in even higher demand.

However, due to the pressures on the industry, from lower prices for example, workers need to be ready-made for the jobs on offer. While this obviously includes the technical skills, such as IWCF well control and intervention training, it also includes related training qualifications.

From confined space training to working from heights, companies are looking for employees with all the qualifications and training preloaded. Workers need to ensure they are the complete package and have the right training under their belt, or else risk not being chosen for a role. Fortunately, the team at Harness are well aware of the new requirements the oil and industry dictates. We believe our training programmes are just what you need to stay ahead of the curve.

To ensure this becomes reality, we have several state-of-the-art simulators that can recreate the conditions working in the oil and gas industry presents. Our brand new safety simulator in Toowoomba, for example, allows individuals to experience the working environment as if they were out in the field.

Alongside these, we also have world-beating trainers who not only have the right experience and skills but also the passion needed to get you through to the end of a course. If you would like to know more, contact a representative of Harness today and take a tour of a facilities.