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Mining companies are looking to replace 457 visas with bulk temporary migration agreements to quickly fill empty mining jobs in Australia.
According to The Daily Telegraph several mining companies are already in advanced discussions with the Government over the changes.
The new Enterprise Migration Agreements will be designed to fill desperately needed mining jobs in projects with a capital expenditure above $2 million and peak workforce higher than 1500.
A spokesperson for Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen told The Courier Mail one mining company had made a confidential submission over the initiative and a Government decision was still pending.
The spokesperson also confirmed other companies had submissions that were awaiting a ruling.
The news comes as one of India’s richest men, Gautam Adani, visits Queensland with plans to develop a new airport to cater to an increase in fly-in-fly-out workers.
Adani recently purchased the Moray Downs cattle station for around $110 million.
According to News.com.au the land sits over almost one third of the total resource base in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
Adandi is planning to create Australia’s largest coal mine by 2022 and build a new rail line to link it to the Abbot Point coal terminal.
Both developments are reopening the debate for creating special "free trade zones" in mining regions that can employ 100 per cent foreign labour.
Minerals Council of Australia acting chief executive Chris Fraser told News.com.au it had so far been difficult for companies to get Enterprise Migration Agreements because unions had "killed them off and strangled them".