Eight held in visa crackdown

During a pre-dawn immigration compliance operation on July 16, officers detained eight men, all Malay nationals, who were suspected of working illegally in the agriculture or market garden industries.

They will remain in detention while arrangements are made to remove them from Australia.

‘Our compliance team was acting on information received about the occupants of the property,’ a Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said. ‘The visit was the result of investigation of allegations they were working illegally.’

The spokesman said it should serve as a warning to people considering accepting work in breach of their visa conditions, and employers who were willing to offer them jobs.

‘Under new rules, which came into effect on June 1, employers who take on illegal workers, whether they know it or not, are subject to fines and other sanctions,’ he said.

‘Infringement notices and civil penalties range from $3060 to $76,500 per illegal employee.

‘People who arrange work for others who have no right to work also face severe sanctions.’

The spokesman said employers could check the visa status and work rights of non-citizens online, with the permission of the applicant worker, by using the department’s Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service.

‘VEVO is the preferred method of checking visa and work rights,’ he said.

‘VEVO is a secure and free government web-based service. It will tell you if there are any limitations on the type of work that can be performed, such as where the person can work and for how long.’

For more information, visit www. immi.gov.au/vevo.