Newcastle Compliance Operation Finds Seven Illegal Workers

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8th October 2009, 07:01pm - Views: 473

Government Crime Department Of Immigration And Citizenship 1 image




October 2009

Newcastle compliance operation finds seven illegal workers

Immigration compliance officers located seven illegal workers on two adjoining

construction sites in Charlestown, Newcastle today.

Compliance officers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship

(DIAC), assisted by NSW Police, located this group following an operation at a

Hurstville construction site last week where 17 illegal workers were located.

“A total of four unlawful non-citizens and a further three people working in

breach of their visa conditions were detained as a result of today’s successful

operation,” a departmental spokesman said. “They were all Chinese nationals."

The four unlawful non-citizens will be taken to Villawood Immigration Detention

Centre, where arrangements will be made for their removal from Australia.

Interviews are continuing with the other three people located.

The illegal workers located at the Charlestown sites were performing

gyprocking tasks.

Information received from a variety of sources combined with DIAC’s

investigations into last week’s Hurstville locations led to today’s activity.

Immigration officers are investigating the circumstances under which the people

were employed. The spokesman said the operation served as a warning to

people and employers that breaches of immigration law would not be tolerated.

An earlier operation at a construction site in the Sydney suburb of Rhodes in

August found 12 illegal workers.

“DIAC is committed to ensuring the integrity of our migration and visa

programs,” the spokesman said. “These recent operations demonstrate that if

people work illegally or if people employ illegal workers, they will be caught.”

He strongly urged employers to check that all people they hire have the legal

right to work in Australia. 

In 2008-09, the department located almost 11 500 people who had either

overstayed their visa or were in breach of their visa conditions, including almost

1000 people who were working illegally.

The main industries where people were found to working illegally were

agricultural (29.8 per cent), hospitality (16.1 per cent) and construction (14.7

per cent) sectors.

“Employers can face severe penalties for hiring people who do not have work

rights in Australia and the department will be seeking information on any

involvement of organisers behind this illegal employment,” the spokesman said.

Employers convicted under Commonwealth legislation face fines of up to     

$13 200 and two years’ imprisonment while companies face fines of up to    

$66 000 per illegal worker. 

Employers can gain access to the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO)

service which allows employers to provide relevant identification details of

prospective employees with their consent to quickly confirm that they are

eligible to work in Australia. 

The department conducted a total of 2228 employer awareness visits in    

2008-09 to educate them about checking a person’s immigration status,

particularly through the VEVO service.

People with information about illegal workers or visa overstayers should call the

Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.

Media Enquiries: National Communications 02 6264 2244

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