BHP and Rio Tinto not keen on foreign workers

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have indicated they'll not yet follow Gina Rinehart's plan to import foreign workers under enterprise migration agreements.

The Australian reports BHP said it preferred to source workers locally but it was also being hurt by the skills shortage.

"Although we currently do not source overseas workers through EMAs, we are operating in a very tight labour market and have more job vacancies than we can fill," it said.

The company told The Australian its shortages were particularly severe in the Pilbara and Bowen Basin.

Rio Tinto made no comment on EMAs but according to The Australian it has not applied for the scheme and currently does not plan to.

Late last week the Government gave Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting approval to bring 1,700 foreign workers to the Roy Hill project in the Pilbara.

The move was widely condemned by unions and the mining community.

Before approving Rinehart's plan the Government hinted earlier this year that several other mining companies had EMA submissions that were awaiting a ruling.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.