22 July 2008

Australian Immigration Department cracking down on illegal workers

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) located 17 illegal foreign workers in immigration compliance operations last week. Only two of the group had valid visas, but were breaching the visa conditions.

The Australian Government has been recruiting overseas workers to fill labour shortages around the country, but foreign workers must enter the country with an Australia work permit or Australian working visa

The DIAC confirmed the number of illegal workers tracked in Australia is increasing every year, with 1,179 found Australia-wide in the first three-quarters of the last financial year.

The biggest source of illegal workers arrived from Malaysia, followed by China, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom. 

"Severe penalties can apply to people who hire workers who do not have work rights in Australia.  Rogue employers face fines of up to $13,200 and two years’ imprisonment while companies face fines of up to $66,000 per illegal worker," the Minister for Immigration Senator Chris Evans said.

The Minister said it is the responsibility of employers to ensure all workers legally have the right to be employed in Australia.  The DIAC have free services to check the eligibility of foreign workers, including the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).  Australian citizens are also encouraged by the department to inform authorities if they know of any illegal workers in Australia on the Immigration Dob-In Line.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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