Why is immigration compliance important?

importance of immigration compliance

In 2016, the level of regulatory scrutiny and enforcement activity in the immigration space has increased substantially. This is in part due to the Department of Immigration becoming an enforcement agency with the establishment of the Australian Border Force (and in some cases, a criminal enforcement agency), and new dual role of Fair Work Inspectors to investigate and enforce workplace and immigration laws.

This is evident from the number of actions brought by regulatory and enforcement bodies including the Department and Fair Work Ombudsman and the scale of penalties and fines imposed in respect of breaches of the law.

Some examples include:

7-Eleven Record Fines and Directors Exposed to Liability

Clinica International Sued for Misleading and Exploiting Migrants

Woolworths Liable for Breaches in its Supply Chain

Data is now shared across government agencies and the systems to support enforcement activity, due to new the introduction protocols between the Department of Immigration the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The protocol has enabled sharing information of more than one million temporary visa holders’ records held by the Department, so that immigration records are matched with PAYG information held on the ATO’s tax systems annually.

In this context, Australian employers need to consider implementing better standard of governance and compliance risk oversight, as well as systems for management of operational risks related to immigration.  For smaller organisations, this means being aware of the risks and having systems and processes to manage them.  For larger organisations, the best approach is to adopt a broad enterprise-wide risk management approach where immigration compliance is embedded into all decision-making processes within the organisation.

Another key feature of the regulatory landscape is the increasing focus on personal liability of directors and executive officers. We have seen an increase in the occurrence of  work site visits, inspections and audits, and directors and senior managers have a clear responsibility to develop and drive a culture of compliance.

The consequences of non-compliance are significant. Substantial penalties apply per immigration breach:

Companies Individuals
Infringement Notice $16,200 $3,240
Civil Penalty $81,000 $16,200
Criminal Penalty $108,000 $21,600 + 2 years imprisonment
Aggravated Offences $270,000 $54,000 + 2 years imprisonment

For assistance with compliance and risk management in your business, please contact us on (02) 8896 6056 or email our Managing Director Sarah Thapa on sarah@themigrationagency.com.au.


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