Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about visas and immigration to Australia.
- Visa requirements for Offshore Oil and Gas Industry
- What is the best visa for me?
- What about employer sponsored permanent residency?
- 457 Visa Condition 8501 – Health Insurance
- How do I add family members on to my 457 visa?
- What happens if I cannot find another sponsor or apply for another Australian visa and have not left Australia within the 28 day period?
- What happens if I am on a 457 visa and my employment ceases?
- What is 457 Visa Condition 8107
- What is the Australian Values Statement?
- How do I meet the character requirement for temporary and permanent migration?
- What is the Australian Health Requirement?
- What if I incur health costs that are not covered by my health insurance?
- Do I need to sit the IELTS English test?
- Who can translate my documents to English?
- Do I need to obtain a police clearance?
- Where can I have my medical done?
- Who can certify my original documents?
Visa requirements for Offshore Oil and Gas Industry
Under the Migration Act 1958, all non-citizens other than permanent residents are required to hold an appropriate visa to work in Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry. This includes people working on Australian resources installations, and people participating in, or supporting, an offshore resources activity on vessels.What is a ‘resources installation’?
A resources installation is a structure (including a pipeline) or vessel used in exploring for or exploiting natural resources, or in operations or activities associated with or incidental to these. Resources installations may include mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) and floating production offloading and storage (FPSO) facilities, as well as other fixed rigs and floating platforms that are used offshore in recovering or processing natural resources.
Resources installations do not include vessels used to transport persons or goods to or from a resources installation (such as a supply vessel), or vessels used in manoeuvring or attaching a resources installation to the Australian seabed (such as a pipe laying vessel).What is an ‘offshore resources activity’?
An ‘offshore resources activity’ is linked to two pieces of legislation – the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and the Offshore Minerals Act 1994. An operation or activity performed under either of these Acts is an ‘offshore resources activity’ (unless excluded by a determination made by the Minister).
Non-citizens aboard a vessel exploring for petroleum under a petroleum exploration permit granted under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 are taken to have entered the migration zone when they enter the permit area.Visas for people working on resources installations
Non-citizens other than permanent residents intending to work on a resources installation should hold either a Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa or a Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa for highly specialised and non-ongoing work.Visas for people on vessels involved in offshore resources activities
Non-citizens other than permanent residents who are participating in, or supporting, an offshore resources activity from a ship or specialist vessel are granted Special Purpose Visas (SPVs) by operation of law.
The SPV comes into effect when the non-citizen, on a vessel, enters the permit or licence area where the offshore resources activity will be undertaken, and the vessel has been reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. As an SPV is granted by operation of law, workers engaged on these vessels are not required to lodge a visa application or pay a visa application charge for the SPV. An SPV cannot be used to work on a resources installation.Working on Australian mainland
The SPV will only allow you to lawfully participate in, or support, an offshore resources activity in the permit or licence area. An SPV granted for offshore resources activity cannot be used to work on the Australian mainland or when entering port.
Visas that can be used to work on the Australian mainland or to work in port on an imported vessel include the Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa or the Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa.Travelling to or from an offshore resources activity
Non-citizens who enter Australia on their way to or from an offshore resources activity will need a visa other than the SPV. For example, a fly-in fly-out worker will need a valid visa to travel through the Australian mainland on their way to or from a permit or licence area.
Visas that can be held to travel to or from an offshore resources activity include the Subclass 600 (Visitor) visa, the Subclass 601 (Electronic Travel Authority – ETA) or the Subclass 651 (eVisitor) visa. Please note that these visas do not allow the holder to work in Australia.
When applying for a visitor visa, applicants need to consider the length of time they will be travelling back and forth to the ship that is participating in an offshore resources activity. For example, if a crew member is on a ship engaged in an offshore resources activity for six weeks and then comes onshore for a short holiday before departing Australia by air, they will need an appropriate visa (for example, a visitor visa) that is valid to cover the entire timeframe.
People who need to return to Australia on a regular basis should apply for a visitor visa that allows multiple entries and has a longer validity, such as Subclass 600 (Visitor) visa. Non-citizens who hold certain passports may be eligible to apply for an ETA.
Non-citizens will hold the SPV by operation of law while they remain on vessels that are in an area to participate in or support an offshore resources activity. If they who do not need to transit through Australia to join or depart their ship, they will not need to hold any other visa.Reporting arrangements for vessels involved in offshore resources activities
Vessels that are in an area, or intend to enter an area, to participate in or support offshore resources activity will need to report to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Masters, agents or operators should obtain pre-registration material from the Offshore Resources Activity Helpdesk (ORA Helpdesk) by email: [email protected].To complete the registration pack the following information will need to be completed, on the form provided, for each non-citizen:
- full name, date of birth, country of birth and nationality and sex. This information should exactly match the details of the person's passport bio-data page;
- passport details, including passport number, issue and expiry date and issuing authority; and
- project or employment end date.
- project, vessel or ship name; and
- a copy of each non-citizen's passport bio-data page.People working in the Joint Petroleum Development (or JPDA) in the Timor Sea are not taken to be in the migration zone for the purposes of the Migration Act. However, they will need a valid visa to transit through Australia on their way to or from the JPDA.
People working in the Joint Petroleum Development (or JPDA) in the Timor Sea are not taken to be in the migration zone for the purposes of the Migration Act. However, they will need a valid visa to transit through Australia on their way to or from the JPDA.Source: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection
What is the best visa for me?
See http://www.immi.gov.au/visawizard/. The Department of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC) has a Visa Wizard that can help you find the Australian visa most likely to meet your specific circumstances. The DIAC website is the safest and most reliable place to receive immigration advice. The Australian government updates its Migration Regulations several times a year, and their website always has the latest and most up-to-date information. The Visa Wizard includes the most common Australian visas, but does not include every visa. For more detailed information please contact [email protected].
What about employer sponsored permanent residency?
You will only be able to progress an application for employer sponsored permanent residency once you have met the policy guidelines set by ISA Group. All family members that you wish to include in your permanent residency visa application will need to hold a qualifying Australian visa (usually a 457 visa). You must allow a minimum of three months for your migration agent to prepare a permanent residency visa application. This means that you will need to advance an employer sponsored permanent residency application at least three months prior to your 457 visa expiry date.
457 Visa Condition 8501 – Health Insurance
How do I add family members on to my 457 visa?
You will only be able to add your spouse and other dependants on to your existing 457 visa once you have met the policy guidelines set by ISA Group and obtained permission from your employer. Only your spouse and other family members who are dependent on you may be added on to your existing 457 visa.
What happens if I cannot find another sponsor or apply for another Australian visa and have not left Australia within the 28 day period?
What happens if I am on a 457 visa and my employment ceases?
What is 457 Visa Condition 8107
Your subclass 457 visa has been granted to you on the basis of you being sponsored by an employer and your subclass 457 visa is subject to condition 8107. This condition applies to the main applicant only. Condition 8107 provides that you must not:
- cease to be employed by the organisation that sponsored you for the subclass 457 visa
- work in a position or occupation inconsistent with the position or occupation in relation to which the visa was granted; or
- engage in work for another person, or for yourselves, while working for the sponsor.
What is the Australian Values Statement?
All applicants aged 18 years and over are required to sign a values statement when applying for selected visas. The statement requires applicants to confirm that they will respect the Australian way of life and obey the laws of Australia before being granted a visa.
How do I meet the character requirement for temporary and permanent migration?
For the Australian Government to determine whether you are of good character, you may be asked to provide police certificates for each country you have lived in for 12 months or more over the last ten (10) years since turning 16.
What is the Australian Health Requirement?
The purpose of the health requirement is to: • protect the Australian community from public health and safety risks, in particular active tuberculosis • contain public expenditure on health and community services, including social security benefits, allowances and pensions • safeguard the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to health care and community services in short supply. Most visa applicants, and in some circumstances their dependents (whether they are migrating to Australia or not), are required to meet the health requirement. To meet the health requirement you must be free from a disease or condition that is: • considered to be a threat to public health or a danger to the Australian community • likely to result in significant health care and community service costs to the Australian community • likely to require health care and community services that would prejudice the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to those services in short supply.
What if I incur health costs that are not covered by my health insurance?
Do I need to sit the IELTS English test?
If an applicant is from an English speaking country (i.e. UK, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Ireland) they will not be required to sit the IELTS English test. If you are not from an English speaking country then please contact ISA Group for further information on English language requirements as they vary from visa to visa.
Who can translate my documents to English?
Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by an accurate English translation of each document. If documents are being translated outside of Australia, the services of a Registered Translating Service in that country must be used. If documents are being translated in Australia, this must be done by a translator who is accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translations and Interpreters (NAATI). ISA Group can refer applicants to a NAATI accredited translator and provide details of a overseas Registered Translating Service.
Do I need to obtain a police clearance?
Yes, in most instances you will be required to provide police clearances for every country you have lived in for 12 months or more in the past 10 years. ISA Group migration agents can advise you on how this can be done in your country of origin.
Where can I have my medical done?
The level of medicals required varies from country to country. Medicals needs to be conducted by a panel doctor or radiologist (if an x-ray is required) who has been appointed by the Australian Government to perform medical examinations on visa applicants outside of Australia. Please contact ISA Group for details of panel doctors.
Who can certify my original documents?
Australian Registered Migration Agents can certify your original documents. Other persons who can certify documents include Public Notaries, Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, Commissioners of Declarations, Commissioners of Affidavits, solicitors, and medical doctors. The people authorised to verify documents, may vary from country to country. Photocopies or faced copies of certified documents are not acceptable.