Immigration minister Chris Bowen last week granted the first of many expected Enterprise Migration Agreements, which allow for the short-term employment of foreign workers in the mining sector.
It was given to an iron ore mine in north-western Australia, part-owned by the country's richest person, Gina Rinehart. It will allow for more than 1,700 foreign workers to be employed at the project over a three-year period.
While good news for thousands of immigrant workers looking to gain employment in Australia's rich natural resources sector, there are fears among local workers that Australians will lose out.
Mr Bowen said: "The government's first priority is always ensuring jobs for Australian workers, but there is a need for temporary workers to help keep our economy strong."
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