Immigration detains 17 at Clare
Immigration compliance officers from Adelaide and Melbourne today detained 17 foreign nationals found working illegally in an operation at Clare.
A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the group was staying at a caravan park and was believed to be working in the local agricultural industry during the pruning season.
“All 17, who were unlawfully in Australia on expired visas, are now liable for removal and we will be arranging that as soon as possible,” the spokesman said.
The operation was launched with the assistance of SA Police after information was received from the community.
The group consists of 16 Indonesians (11 males and five females) and a Lao female and will be detained in Adelaide ahead of removal.
“Illegal workers in Australia will not be tolerated,” the spokesman said.
“The department actively investigates community reports and takes swift action to apprehend non-citizens without work rights.
“It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that non-Australian workers they hire hold a visa with valid work rights. Employers should be aware it is also a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly allow a person to work illegally or to refer an illegal worker for work.”
DIAC provides advice to employers about their obligations to assist them in complying with the law. Employers can verify online whether a person is entitled to work in Australia.
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.
The government announced draft legislation on August 3 to further crack down on illegal work practices. The legislation would put in place fines and a civil penalty regime for employers who deliberately employ and seek to exploit foreign workers who do not have valid work visas.
People with information about illegal workers or visa overstayers are encouraged to call the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.
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