Australia- Immigration catches 16 illegal workers

Immigration compliance officers have located 16 visa overstayers who were working illegally on a farm in Ti Tree (near Alice Springs) as part of a crackdown on illegal work in the region today.

Arrangements are being made for the removal of 15 illegal workers detained during the compliance operation, which was conducted with the assistance of Northern Territory Police, while the remaining person has been granted a bridging visa with strict conditions to depart Australia.

A departmental spokesman said those detained were thought to be long-term unlawful non-citizens. “There were 13 men and two women detained, comprising eight Malaysian males and one female, one Vietnamese male, three Chinese men, one Indonesian male and one female,” the spokesman said.

Those detained are being transferred to the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) and the Darwin Airport Lodge (DAL).

The operation was conducted at a farm that has had a history of hiring unlawful non-citizens and a departmental spokesman said investigations into the circumstances of the employment of the illegal workers were continuing.

“The department relies on information from a range of sources to help it identify non-compliance concerns, such as illegal workers or overstayers. The department compliance operations target anyone who is found to be in breach of Australia’s immigration laws,” the 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. It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that non-Australian workers they hire hold a visa with valid work rights.”

Employers have access to the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service, allowing them to provide relevant identification details of prospective employees, with their consent, to confirm they are eligible to work in Australia. Employers convicted under Commonwealth legislation of having 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.

People with information about illegal workers or visa overstayers are encouraged to call the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.

Media enquiries: National Communications Branch 02 6264 2244

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