Brendan O’Connor
Brendan O’Connor Tom Huntley

Australian Govt changes immigration laws to widen scope

FORGET pirates, sea monsters or mermaids, the real threat on the high seas are those working without the proper paperwork.

The Federal Government will widen its immigration laws to give those working on resource operations in the Exclusive Economic Zone or Continental Shelf a specific visa.

The economic zone covers waters up to 370km from mainland Australia.

The Continental Shelf covers an area of more than 2.5 million square kilometres beyond the 370km threshold off Australia's territory in Antarctica.

In May 2012, the Allseas court case found those working on laying pipelines on the ocean floor did not require a work visa.

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor said the changes to the Migration Act will protect Australian jobs once introduced next year

The government will now work with industry, unions and others on developing the laws.

The Maritime Union of Australia has backed the plan.