Immigration compliance officers have located 27 illegal workers and visa overstayers in a series of compliance operations in the Central Coast and Newcastle areas that concluded overnight.
A Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said immigration compliance teams visited businesses and homes in Raymond Terrace, Hamilton, Birmingham Gardens, Morriset, Gosford, The Entrance, Berkeley Vale, San Remo and Tarro.
“A total of 16 men and 11 women were found to be unlawful during the operation – 17 from the People’s Republic of China, five from Fiji and one each from the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Taiwan,” the spokesman said.
“Of this group, 21 people were detained and transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, where they will be removed from Australia at the earliest opportunity. Another six from the group located were granted bridging visas with strict conditions.”
A number of the operations were conducted in response to community information provided to the department’s dob-in line, while information was also received through other sources. Investigations into the circumstances of the employment of the illegal workers are continuing.
“Employers should be aware it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly allow a person to work illegally or to refer an illegal worker for work,” the spokesman said.
The Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service is available to employers to check the relevant identification details of prospective employees, with their consent, to quickly confirm if they are eligible to work in Australia.
Employers convicted under Commonwealth legislation of employing illegal workers face fines of up to $20 400 and two years’ imprisonment while companies face fines of up to $102 000 per illegal worker.
“In 2011-12, almost 2000 people were caught working illegally in Australia,” the spokesman said. “This activity continued across the country this financial year with a further 1029 illegal workers found to December 31.”
People with information about illegal workers or visa overstayers are encouraged to call the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.
Media enquiries: National Communications Branch 02 8862 6261
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