System Message:

Immigration department introduces reforms on illegal workers

Immigration department introduces reforms on illegal workers

The Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has recommitted to a crackdown on people hiring illegal immigrants with new legislation set to be introduced into parliament outlining new penalties of both a criminal and civil nature.

The Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Bill 2012 looks to set down new rules recommended by a system review, which incorporates notices and penalties as well as search warrants for businesses hiring those without a legitimate immigration visa.

Mr Bowen said that these reforms strike a balance between fair and tough.

"This legislation strikes a balance between targeting those employers who flout the rules, while taking care not to overstretch the resources of the vast majority of employers who seek to do the right thing."

"It enables strong action if initial approaches involving education and targeted warnings fail to convince deliberately uncooperative employers that they are not above the law," he said.

In concert with these initiatives, the government is stepping up a campaign to increase awareness for employers about how to ensure that they're hiring people who are legally entitled to live and work in Australia.

Mr Bowen said these new laws leave little room for employers who repeatedly break the rules and claim they weren't aware of the new rules or of their employees<apostrophe at the end of this S, it's a plural possessive work status. Bowen says however that there are provisions within the law to protect those who were legitimately unaware of any misdeeds. 

The amendments to this act include changing the criminal offences and creating civil penalties for non-faults, as well as a notice scheme for anyone who accommodates or helps an illegal worker obtain a job. The amendment also includes widening the scope of criminal offences and civil penalties to hold a person or persons accountable for the employment of an illegal worker. The laws additionally allow liability criminally or civilly for those above the immediate line of employers to include indirect upper management.

Finally they also include provisions for establishing search warrants and notices in order to enable the investigation of any employers hiring illegal workers.

"Abusing employment practices affects everyone by limiting work opportunities, restricting the migration program and allowing for exploitation of vulnerable people. Abiding by the rules ensures a fair go for employers and workers alike," Bowen said.

"The graduated system of sanctions will operate as a last resort and should only be of concern to those employers who seek to circumvent the law."

This comes in the wake of the Herald Sun newspaper reporting that on average, 11 illegal immigrants are being arrested every week in Victoria.

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio