Immigration minister explains EMAs

Date: Aug 03, 2012

There are a number of different criteria that businesses seeking an Enterprise Migration Agreement must fulfil in order for their application to be successful, the minister for immigration and citizenship underscored in a recent speech this week.

In an address to the Australian Mines and Metals Association Migration and Labour Sourcing Conference earlier this week, the minister emphasised that the EMA must not be mistaken for a "free pass".

These agreements, he explained, are subject to "stringent oversight", and prospective applicants should arm themselves with the right information before proceeding with an application.

Essentially, EMA-seekers must demonstrate that they face a genuine skills shortage, and will be required to produce specific details about how such shortages can have an impact on their project.

The main appeal of Enterprise Migration Agreements is that project owners and managers can work to plan their workforce needs from the very beginning - and the negotiations process is streamlined into a single measure rather than several individual negotiations.

Bowen said: "The key benefit of EMAs is to assist project owners to plan their workforce needs and mitigate any risk that projects won't be able to source sufficient skilled workers to be completed on time and on budget. Indeed, this is now the biggest challenge they face when looking to secure finance for major expansions or new projects."

EMA holders, he added, will also be obligated to utilise the government's new Resources Sector Job Board, which allows Australians to identify the employment opportunities available in the mining sector.

This will not only ensure that EMA proponents are able to quickly and easily identify skilled workers, but also allow them to seek out local Australians with the relevant skills and supply them with employment opportunities.

Bowen added: "The program also mirrors and builds upon many of the existing 457 visa and labour agreement requirements."

Any organisation planning to make an application for an individual 457 visa or investigate their options when it comes to EMAs may wish to seek out advice from an experienced immigration lawyer.

A skilled migration lawyer can advise on the likely outcome of your case and can assist you through the process of preparing your application.

Your lawyer can also provide guidance on which visas may be most applicable to your situation, as well as the obligations employers and employees are required to meet.