The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is continuing to step up its compliance activities around Australia as part of an overall crackdown on illegal foreign workers. While the majority of people who arrive from overseas to work in Australia have visas and are treated as they should be, there is concern that as the economy slows there are more illegal activities being carried out.
The DIAC is encouraging anyone who knows about illegal workers who either don’t have a visa or have overstayed their visa to contact their immigration hotline. As part of the latest crackdown, DIAC compliance officers located 11 illegal workers at a residential property in the northern Perth suburb of Girrawheen and several operations last week in Victoria resulted in the detention of 15 illegal workers.
The group of eight Malaysians and three Indonesians, including four women and seven men, have been transferred to Perth Immigration Detention Centre and will face removal from Australia as soon as possible. The Immigration compliance officers were acting on a community tip off that a number of people were working illegally in the Western Australian agricultural industry.
After further information received on the Immigration Dob-In Line regarding tourists working illegally in Kununurra in the far north of the state, investigations led the officers to the Girrawheen house. A DIAC spokesman said investigations into the circumstances of their employment were continuing – the operation was conducted with the assistance of Western Australian Police.
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‘We have been helped in the successful pursuit of unlawful workers by reports from vigilant members of the public. The department treats all allegations and information received seriously and takes appropriate action,’ the spokesman said. ‘We repeat the warning to employers that it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly allow a person to work illegally or to refer an illegal worker for work,’ he added.
Employers convicted under Commonwealth legislation of giving jobs to illegal workers face fines of up to $20,400 and two years’ jail while companies face fines of up to $102,000 per illegal worker. DIAC offers a Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service so that employers may check the relevant identification details of prospective employees, with their consent, to quickly confirm if they are eligible to work in Australia.