The peak body for the building industry has sought assurances the skills of foreign workers will be properly checked before entering Australia under the China free trade agreement.

Master Builders Australia said in its submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the deal that the immigration department should ensure evidence is collected from work visa applicants.

This evidence should include qualifications, memberships of professional or trade bodies, references and documents showing English language skills.

“Master Builders recommends that a positive skills assessment should lead to a 457 visa being granted, providing that all other conditions are met while ensuring Australians have first priority to employment and training opportunities,” the organisation said.

Master Builders also noted that successful granting of a visa did not guarantee licensing or registration as required by Australian federal, state and territory laws and regulations.

The construction body said it supports the free trade deal in principle and believes bringing in small proportions of temporary skilled workers has a positive economic impact.