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Illegal workers found in northern Victoria

Illegal workers found in northern Victoria

A number of suspected illegal farm workers have been located in the north of Victoria as part of a compliance operation.

Six women and 13 men, believed to be of Malaysian descent, are believed by authorities to have been employed as fruit and vegetable pickers in the local area.

As Australian migration agents will know, it is illegal for employers to knowingly or recklessly allow a person to work without the necessary visas, or to refer an illegal worker for a position.

Employers who are convicted under Commonwealth legislation face fines of up to $13,200 and two years in prison.

Companies, on the other hand, could be subject to a fine of $66,000 per illegal worker.

A spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) explained that this latest crackdown occurred at three residential addresses in the north of Victoria.

The spokesperson continued: "They have been transferred to the Adelaide Immigration Transit Accommodation pending arrangements for their removal from Australia.

"The 19 were living unlawfully in Australia and have admitted to working illegally on farms in nearby areas."

Employers are given all the tools they need to determine whether or not a person is legally allowed to work in Australia - an online verification system is just one of the resources available.

The Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service can be used to verify the identification documents of employees, allowing companies to quickly check eligibility to work in Australia.

VEVO is a free online facility that can be used not only by employers, but also visa applicants, education providers, financial institutions and government agencies.

Anyone who checks the system is required to seek the permission of the individual first.

A range of information needs to be inputted to receive the data, including the person's full name, date of birth, passport number and country of issue.

Both employers and employees alike are urged by the DIAC to receive their information from reputable sources, such as registered migration agents, to make sure they stay on the right side of the law.

The department recently warned that there has been a rise in the number of unauthorised applications designed for use on mobile devices, which may not give accurate advice.

The DIAC stressed that failing to give the right data when applying for a visa could create more problems than people realise - and may leave them unable to make further applications in the future.


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