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The Department of Immigration is investigating claims overseas workers on the billion dollar Gorgon gas project in WA were coached to mislead the Government and rort Australia’s visa system.
According to The West Australian workers for construction contractor Allseas came to work in Australia on 651 visas, which are designed for businesspeople attending conferences.
The West Australian claims in an email to employees Allseas said “the Business eVisitor strictly is not the correct visa to hold” and instructed workers not to reveal to immigration officials they were in Australia to work.
The email allegedly tells workers that if they are questioned they should say they will be in Australia for three months or less, the maximum under a 651 visa.
The employees were destined to crew a ship for work on an offshore pipeline for the $43 billion project developed primarily by Chevron Australia.
Chevron said it was a priority for it and its contractors to employ Australians on the project.
It said it expected all contractors to comply with Australian regulations.
Earlier this year the Maritime Union of Australia claimed it had uncovered “sham foreign labour” on the same Allseas vessel.
It claimed a number of European workers had been employed using five-day tourist visas.
The union said maritime contractors on Gorgon had engaged in “systematic rorting of visas” and European workers had received inferior pay and missed out on basic entitlements.
It also said some companies were working to “rip off both foreign workers and Australian workers”.
Image: ABC News