Sydney Labour Hire Racket

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29th January 2010, 05:27pm - Views: 601

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Media Enquiries: National Communications Branch (02) 6264 2244


29 January 2010

Investigators uncover Sydney labour hire racket

Arrangements to remove a group of 13 illegal workers are under way as police and immigration

investigators examine evidence of a labour hire racket uncovered in Sydney today.

The labour hire racket was allegedly operating in Sydney’s construction industry and was the

target of a joint Australian Federal Police (AFP)/Immigration operation over the past 48 hours.

The early morning warrants served today on a plastering contracting business followed the

location of 13 gyprockers during immigration compliance field activity in Newington yesterday.

"Following yesterday's successful compliance operation in Newington, warrants were executed

today by the AFP and immigration investigators on a company believed to be employing illegal

workers,” a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said.

“The criminal warrants were executed at both a Castlereagh Street office in the CBD and the

Newington construction site and evidence has been located that will assist the investigation. 

DIAC will vigorously pursue with the Director of Public Prosecutions any possible criminal

prosecution related to hiring and exploitation of illegal workers.”

Interviews with the illegal workers confirmed 10 of them were contracted by the same plastering


Of the 13 illegal gyprockers located, 12 men – nine Chinese, two Koreans and a Filipino – have

been taken to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre where arrangements are being made for

their removal from Australia. The remaining Chinese man was released on a bridging visa to

pending his imminent departure. 

“This ongoing investigation is an excellent example of close cooperation between DIAC, the

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the AFP,” the spokesman said.

“It serves as a warning to unscrupulous operators in the construction industry that employing

illegal workers will not be tolerated, we will catch you and we will do everything in our power to

ensure you are successfully prosecuted.”

This crackdown on illegal work follows successful targeting of labour hire rackets in the meat and

agriculture industries last year. It is up to employers to ensure they only hire workers who have

the legal right to work in Australia. 

“All employers need to be aware it is a criminal offence to employ or refer a person for

employment where that person is not entitled to work in Australia,” the spokesman said. 

“Employers convicted of illegal worker offences face fines of up to $13 200 and/or two years’

imprisonment per illegal worker. Companies face fines of up to $66 000 per illegal worker.” 

Information about a person living or working illegally in Australia can be reported to DIAC by

phoning the dob-in line on 1800 009 623.

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