Foreign workers get banned ‘jobs for Aussies’

HUNDREDS of foreign workers have been granted jobs in occupations the Federal Government last year said "could and should" go to Aussies.

More than 200 occupations, including butchers, pilots, engineers and web designers, were axed from the controversial 457 visas program in April last year. The program was replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage visa.

But department data reveals almost 700 visas were granted for jobs that had been axed from the 457 program.

The majority of these were for more than 20 occupations that were quietly added back on to the list just months after their highly publicised cut.

These included butchers, pilots, horse trainers and retail buyers, which had industries demand they be added back in.

Pilots was among the banned jobs
Pilots was among the banned jobs

Opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said this showed the program had been rushed out.

"This is an insult to Australian workers - the Liberals' refusal to address the growing number of people from overseas being given temporary work visas is putting too many Australians at the back of the jobs queue," he said.

"These problems could have been avoided if the out-of-touch (Coalition) Government consulted with affected stakeholders before rushing to make their announcement last April."

Immigration Minister David Coleman would not comment.

A Home Affairs Department spokesman said the occupations list for skilled work visas was reviewed regularly to respond to changes in the labour market.

"Updates are informed by reviews by the Department of Jobs and Small Business, which include labour market analysis and public consultation," he said.

In April last year then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull lauded the changes, saying 457s had lost credibility and would no longer be used as "passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians".

People from India were granted the highest number of 457 visas last year, making up 20 per cent of the program, followed by the UK and US.

The 457 visa program officially ended last month and was replaced with a Temporary Skills Shortage visa, which makes it more difficult for applicants to use it as a backdoor method to become permanent residents of Australia.