Foreign tradies picking up local jobs across our region
FOREIGN tradies are flooding into Queensland as the number of skilled worker visas skyrockets and the nation faces an apprenticeship crisis.
Mechanics, chefs, welders, carpenters and electricians were all trades which saw a noticeable increase for temporary skilled worker visas granted from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
It is despite the Coalition Government overhauling the foreign worker visa system, promising it would ensure that jobs that could be done be Australians would be.
Labor said the government had "failed to train Queenslanders" for local jobs, but acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said they would not hold up major projects because of a lack of qualified workers.
New data obtained by the Courier-Mail shows there was a 34 per cent increase in visas granted for tradies and technicians over that period.
It was much higher than what was seen for other professions like managers, professionals, community workers, clerical and administrative and sales.
There has been a sizeable drop in the number of young people taking up an apprenticeship or trade in the past six years.
The number foreign worker visas for trades granted in QLD jumped from 880 to almost 1200 in a year, while nationally it leapt from 7200 to 9200.
Opposition immigration spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said the government needed to explain why the number of workers on "457-style visas" for tradies were continuing to grow on its watch.
"It's clear the Morrison Government's changes to the 457 visa system two years ago were an attempt to cover up their failure to train Queensland workers for Queensland jobs," she said.
Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said the Coalition had created a "serious tradie shortage" in Queensland.
"Scott Morrison's cuts to TAFE mean Queenslanders aren't being trained in these critical trades," she said.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said there was strong demand for qualified tradies across the country.
"Employers can only hire overseas workers if they have demonstrated they can't find Australians to do the job," he said.
"We don't want to hold up major projects in Australia because of lack of qualified people."
The Government is currently reviewing the skilled occupations list of jobs eligible for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa.