Immigration officials in Australia are involved in a major crackdown on visa fraud and illegal workers and have detained a number of people in Victoria as part of an ongoing operation. The national identity fraud campaign involving the cooperation of state, Commonwealth and international agencies is working to identify criminal activity through data matching activities.
The investigation has included the use of electronic facial recognition software now being utilised by a number of state and federal government agencies. It is used to identify people who are believed to have created, stolen or assumed a false identity to facilitate crime.
'Employers should be aware it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly allow a person to work illegally or to refer an illegal worker for work,' said a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. He pointed out that the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service is available to employers to check the relevant identification details of prospective employees, with their consent, to quickly confirm if they are eligible to work in Australia.
Employers convicted under Commonwealth legislation of employing illegal workers face fines of up to $13,200 and two years' imprisonment while companies face fines of up to $66,000 per illegal worker. As part of the operation, immigration compliance officers detained a North West Victorian family overnight as part of moves which have netted 15 suspected illegal workers in recent days - which also included 11 suspected illegal farm workers in the region.Quote from AustraliaForum.com : Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) investigators executed the search warrant following extensive investigation into the agent's activities, and will now forensically examine the seized materials."It would be premature to say whether charges will be laid as a result of this operation," a DIAC spokesman said. "The department takes allegations of immigration fraud very seriously. Any activities that undermine the integrity of Australia's visa regime will not be tolerated by authorities."
'The Department of Immigration and Citizenship's compliance officers have been out in force in Victoria recently, and that should send a message to illegal workers that they will be caught,' the spokesman explained. 'The department takes immigration fraud very seriously and actively pursues the prosecution of people found engaging in this serious crime,' the spokesman added.
Compliance teams detained six suspected illegal farm workers in one raid, two women and four men. The five Malaysians and an Indonesian were visa over-stayers and another team detained another six Malaysians, four men and two women, suspected of working illegally on farms. The DIAC said that these operations were helped in part by information from the public about foreigners believed to be involved in illegal work in the region. Investigations into the circumstances of their employment are continuing.
Meanwhile, a South Korean woman is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court to making false statements in a spouse visa application lodged with the DIAC. The woman, a citizen of the Republic of Korea (South Korea), obtained permanent residence by dishonestly omitting from her application that she had previously visited Australia using another name and was excluded from returning to Australia by the department's Seoul visa office.