Outspoken Coalition MP George Christensen has signalled he does not want any new 457 visa holders to work in central and north Queensland, arguing that the unemployment was already too high.
Mr Christensen, whose electorate of Dawson covers from Mackay to Townsville, said he was lobbying his government colleagues to restrict the scheme.
“We really do not need the issuance of any more 457 visas into our region,” he said.
“There’s really no need for foreign workers, so 457 visas being issued for jobs in our region should be scrapped, or at the very least issued under extremely limited circumstances because the unemployed numbers here speak volumes.”
Mr Christensen said he had been speaking privately to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton about this issue.
The Dawson MP said he would on Tuesday write formally to Mr Dutton, along with the Prime Minister, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Mr Christensen said if his colleagues failed to act, he was not afraid to stir things up.
“I expect them to listen to a local member who has their finger on the pulse,” he said.
“If there’s no action forthcoming, then we’ll have to bring that up in the appropriate forum like the joint partyroom meeting.
“I’m not going to go on as a local member of Parliament with a policy out there that is hurting my area.”
Christensen dismisses Labor stance
Mr Christensen may be just a backbencher, but he has proved in the past that he can be effective.
In September this year he led an effort to force changes to the government’s superannuation policies.
“I expect them to listen to a local member who has their finger on the pulse.”
It is yet to be seen whether his influence extends to employment and immigration policy.
Despite his position, the MP said he was not on the same page as the ALP, which has also called for a restriction on skilled migrants.
“I’ve got to say it’s quite hypocritical of Labor to come out now opposing it, given that they, while Bill Shorten was Employment Minister actually oversaw the biggest increase in numbers in the 457 scheme. He has absolutely no credibility in talking about this,” Mr Christensen said.
“I’ve always been speaking to government, to ministers, about issues to do with putting Australia first.”