Immigration: check your employees or pay the price

by 25 Jan 2012

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has sent out a stark warning of the significant risks faced by employers that fail to check the immigration status of their prospective employees.

The move follows the latest sting operation by compliance officers from the DIAC, in which 23 illegal workers were caught at a construction site at Homebush Bay in Sydney’s west.

Twenty of the 23 illegal workers were transferred to the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre for processing, ahead of their removal from Australia at the earliest opportunity.

“It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that non-Australian workers they hire hold a visa with valid work rights,” a DIAC spokesman said. “Illegal workers in Australia will not be tolerated and the department actively investigates community reports and takes swift action to apprehend non-citizens without work rights.”

The penalties for failing to comply with immigration legislation can run into thousands of dollars and jail time is also being dished out to employers in some cases.

Individuals responsible for employing illegal workers face fines of up to $13,200 and two years imprisonment if convicted under Commonwealth legislation. Additionally, companies can also be fined for overall organisational negligence, and face fines of up to $66,000 per illegal worker.

Organisations that wish to check the immigration status of prospective employees (with their consent) can do so for free at the DIAC Visa Entitlement Verification Online service.


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