AUSTRALIAN Border Force officers raided Wanneroo and Bullsbrook farms on Tuesday, detaining 36 illegal workers.
The investigation, which also involved WA Police and Australian Federal Police, targeted visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign nationals.
A daily newspaper reported the Bullsbrook strawberry farm was operated by Ti Produce.
Officers identified 28 workers who were in Australia legally, but did not have the appropriate working visa.
Eight of the workers were in the country illegally.
Border Force superintendent Clinton Sims said authorities would “deal firmly with those who deliberately choose to do the wrong thing”.
“This operation shows the work the ABF and its partner agencies are undertaking to target illegal labour hire operations and to stamp out illegal work and the exploitation of foreign nationals,” he said.
“Those found to be employing illegal workers can face criminal penalties, which carry fines for individuals up to $25,200 or two years imprisonment and up to $126,000 for corporations per illegal worker.”
It is understood the farms provide produce to Woolworths.
The company is aware of the matter.
“Where any alleged breach of laws by a supplier are brought to our attention we take those allegations seriously and are investigating this issue as a matter of urgency,” a Woolworths spokesman said.
“Customers should be assured we place the utmost importance on our responsibility to source food ethically. Our trading terms require that suppliers comply with all relevant laws and support ethical standards with regard workplace safety, environment, fair pay and employment conditions.”
Anyone aware of an individual, business or employer involved in visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact Border Watch on 1800 009 623 or online at www.border.gov.au/report.