AN organised group of eight Malaysian nationals has been prevented from entering Australia to work illegally, the Australian Border Force has confirmed.
Six men and two women aged between 23 and 59 travelled on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Perth on Wednesday.
During initial questioning by ABF officers, the group provided inconsistent accounts of their intended purpose of travel.
The ABF said they were all subjected to baggage examinations and then formally interviewed where it was established they had come to Australia with the intention of working on farms despite only holding tourist visas.
It was also established that seven of the group had paid the eighth person to coordinate all their travel and assist with seeking employment.
The group was taken to the Perth Immigration Detention Centre until their removal from Perth on Thursday.
ABF Regional Commander Rod O’Donnell said the mass detection highlighted why the targeting of unscrupulous labour hire intermediaries exploiting foreign workers was an operational priority for the agency.
“We see foreign nationals attempting to enter Australia to work illegally on a regular basis but rarely travelling in large groups like this,” Commander O’Donnell said.
“This was a well organised attempt to bring seven people into the country under false pretences, and full credit to the ABF officers at Perth Airport who picked them up.
“Illegal foreign workers are extremely vulnerable and are often underpaid and poorly treated, while the unscrupulous individuals facilitating them are making significant profits at their expense.”