Senate debates

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers


3:03 pm

Photo of Kate LundyKate Lundy (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation) Share this | | Hansard source

On 19 June 2012 I took a question on notice from Senator Hanson-Young regarding migration. I now seek leave to have the answer incorporated into Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—




Senator Hanson-Young asked the following questions:

1. When did any official from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, or indeed the Ministers office, first become aware of the arrival of Adani's foreign workers on incorrect visas?


There is no evidence to suggest that Adani workers entered Australia on incorrect visas. Subclass 456 visa holders are permitted to undertake highly specialised short-term work in Australia. A visa holder's circumstances may change after arrival, resulting in an application for a further visa such as a subclass 457.

The cases referred to in the Australian newspaper on 18 June 2012 occurred over 12 months ago. They involved staff from Adani's head office coming to Australia on subclass 456 visas to undertake feasibility work. Some decided to remain in Australia and applied for a subclass 457 visa.

Subclass 456 holders are legally able to apply for a subclass 457 visa in Australia. To be granted a subclass 457 visa, the applicant and their sponsor must meet a range of criteria relating to skill level, salary and training requirements.

2. When was the Department first made aware and, if indeed there were meetings with Adani, when did they first happen and why was it that Adani was able to shortcut the visa requirements for those workers at that particular time?

As indicated above, subclass 456 holders are legally able to apply for a subclass 457 visa in Australia.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has met with representatives of Adani on a number of occasions to discuss appropriate visa options.

In June 2011, senior departmental officials met with Adani in New Delhi to discuss the subclass 457 framework and visa requirements. The Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) program, which was announced in the 2011-12 Budget, was discussed.

It would appear the department's advice to Adani in that meeting prompted it to commission the Ernst & Young audit and review its business practices.

3. Can the Minister advise the Senate whether Adani, which has indeed said that they need up to 5 000 workers for the expansion of their Queensland mining project, has applied or indicated an intent to apply for approval of an Enterprise Migration Agreement? If so, is it currently on a positive pathway for approval?


Adani has not sought an Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA), although they remain free to do so. Departmental officials have met with Adani on a number of occasions to discuss the subclass 457 visa program, including providing information concerning the requirements of the EMA program. This same information has been provided publicly, as well as to a number of other companies.