This is the hidden visa allowing companies to exploit cheap foreign labour and costing Australians their jobs.
The 400 visa has been revealed as the lesser-known ticket for overseas workers to bypass tight restrictions on the 457 foreign worker visa which was abolished by the Turnbull Government in April 2017.
There were at least 11 cases of workers on the 400 visa being scrutinized by the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2017, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Despite 11 cases before the Ombudsman, experts told the publication there were far more cases of exploitation likely slipping through the cracks.
When Australia hosted the Cricket World Cup in 2015, Australian camera crews were refused the broadcasting job in favour of a crew from Singapore.
The international crew was given the green light by the International Cricket Council.
The 400 visa was designed to be used to fill talent gaps in the local market – but qualified Australian applicants have been snubbed in favour of semi-skilled overseas workers, experts suggest.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull abolished the controversial 457 visa in April this year over concerns Australians were losing jobs to foreign workers.
‘This rigorous focus – this laser-like focus – on our national interest will ensure that wehre skill gaps arise and can’t be filled by Australians, then foreign workers can come in, but not otherwise,’ Mr Turnbull said about the visa crackdown.
Since the 457 visa was axed, the number of 400 visas approved stayed steady.
The number of 400 visas approved equaled about half the number of 457 visas before it was overturned, the publication reported.
Senior lecturer at the University of Sydney Dr Chris Wright said there was far less known about the 400 visa and it flew under the radar.
The employment, globalisation and public policy expert said there was not much information on the 400 out there and as a result, not much attention was paid to it.
Labor MP Julian Hill accused the government of a superficial crackdown on visas when it abolished the 457.
‘It appears that some employers are still finding ways to bypass the new skills shortage lists and avoid labour market testing,’ Mr Hill said.
‘Reports that 400 visas are being handed out like lollies by Peter Dutton’s department are disturbing.’
The Immigration Minister’s office denied the claim.
A spokesman for the minister told the Sydney Morning Herald 400 visas were only approved after careful consideration.
‘The government is committed to ensuring that Australian workers have priority and that foreign workers are a supplement to, and not a substitute for, Australian workers,’ he said.