Shorten proposes changes to 457 visas to 'put local workers first'

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Source: AAP

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has introduced a private member's bill proposing changes to the temporary skilled migration visa program aimed at giving 'our own unemployed' the best chance of securing work.

Labor has proposed a raft of changes aimed at tightening Australia's temporary skilled migration program.

The private bill, introduced to parliament by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Monday, includes a requirement employers prove they have contributed to local employment when applying to sponsor workers on 457 visas.

"We recognise that guest workers are part of the Australian economy but we also recognise that the parliament should focus on making sure that we give our own unemployed, our own underemployed, the best possible chance and the best start in life," Mr Shorten told the lower house.

A big part of the system was being used and abused by dodgy labour hire firms and unscrupulous employers, he said.

More than one million visa holders in Australia hold some form of work rights, while around 700,000 Australians cannot find a job.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said the 457 visa program was a scam.

It follows a report that Mr Shorten allowed an influx of foreign workers for fast food chains when in government.

The Daily Telegraph on Monday said an agreement was approved by Labor in 2012 to grant McDonald's sponsor rights to bring in 285 foreign workers.

"It's not vetted enough, they're using it to bring people into the country via the back door and I think it stinks,” Senator Hanson told the Seven Network.

Treasurer Scott Morrison, a former immigration minister, described Mr Shorten as the "gold medallist" when it came to handing out 457 visas.

"What he's put up on 457s is just gross hypocrisy," Mr Morrison told Ray Hadley on Sydney's 2GB radio.

"This bloke is just full of it."

Source AAP

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