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.

  • Bill Shorten must stand up to his union masters and pass this deal which is in the best interests of Australia.

    Whilst there are some concerns, the deal is good for Australia and should go ahead.

  • I'm a qualified electrical contractor with verifiable qualifications, how are the qualifications from Chinese "electricians" to be checked, now that they don't have to sit the external electrical examinations (practical & electrical theory) that Australian electricians have to pass to gain qualifications?

  • Australia already has a Trades Recognition Skills Assessment program, which is administered by the Department of Immigration. It requires the applicant to obtain the Australian qualification relevant to their trade, and requires them to be trained in Australian safety and standards. The assessment is carried out by Registered Training Organisations, who issue nationally recognised qualifications.
    This should be the basis for any skills assessment, not a hap-hazard application process administered by the government.

  • Good luck to them if they can get registered, I'm a registered tasmanian builder and cannot get the VBA to recognise my licence!!!!! the whole system is a farce!!!!

  • Mutual Recognition Act 1992…….. great idea only if Victoria would recognise it. I am a Tasmanian licensed builder and the VBA keep postponing recognition under Section 22. At best, this is a very flimsy argument to put on hold someones livelyhood. The VBA should be ashamed of themselves for doing this, we need to get registered as it is our right under Commonwealth Law,
    George Damaskos