About 14 foreign nationals have been detained and will be deported after being caught illegally working at a farm in Bullsbrook, Western Australia, following a raid by Australian Border Force (ABF).
Of the 14 illegal workers (13 men and a woman – all from Malaysia and Indonesia), nine were unlawful non-citizens and the other five were working in breach of their visa conditions.
The raid originated from intelligence that indicated non-citizens were illegally working on the farm. An investigation into the work practices on the farm is ongoing, ABF said.
ABF assistant commissioner, Detention Compliance and Removals, Kingsley Woodford-Smith, said the ABF was committed to stamping out the practice of illegal work in Australia.
“The ABF continues to gather intelligence across all industries where illegal work practices involving unlawful non-citizens and illegal foreign workers may be taking place.
“This operation sends a strong message to the individuals involved; if you are in Australia without a valid visa, if you work in breach of your visa conditions or if you are exploiting foreign workers, you will be caught.”
Lessons for Employers
Employers who believe an employee is a foreign national must carry out checks to confirm that person has a visa with permission to work.
Employers found to have employed, referred or contracted a foreign national without work rights or is breaching their visa conditions could face penalties of between $3240 and $108,000 per illegal worker.
Joint Taskforce Cadena
Both the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Fair Work Ombudsman are working together, under the auspices of the joint Taskforce Cadena, to investigate illegal work.
The taskforce was set up in June 2015. Since inception, Task Force Cadena had completed 11 operations, arrested three people, detained 95 unlawful non-citizens and executed 31 warrants.
Investigators on Taskforce Cadena worked on the inquiry into non-compliance within the 7-Eleven franchise. Under Taskforce Cadena, the FWO and Australian Border Force also coordinated surprise record-keeping audits on other businesses. Back-payments and enforceable undertakings have been sought from businesses, with compliance and infringement notices issued.