A recent crackdown on illegal workers in regional New South Wales by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has underscored the need for employers to be aware of immigration laws.
A total of 17 people were found to be working illegally after compliance operations were carried out in Warners Bay, Charlestown, Newcastle, Dubbo, Wellington, Wee Waa, Scone, Gosford, Tamworth and Wynong this week.
The DIAC reports that arrangements are now being made to remove nine of the illegal workers from Australia at the earliest opportunity - these individuals have been transferred to the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney for processing.
Bridging visas have been arranged for the other eight individuals to depart Australia.
According to a spokesman, the department is investigating the circumstances under which these illegal workers were employed.
The DIAC asserted that employers who have been convicted under Commonwealth legislation of hiring illegal workers can face penalties including up to two years' imprisonment and fines of up to $13,200.
Furthermore, companies who are found to have employed individuals without the proper visa requirements can face fines of up to $66,000 per illegal worker.
Companies who are concerned about migration issues or are interested in finding out more about the available avenues for employing migrant workers legally may wish to enlist the services of skilled migration lawyers.
Immigration lawyers offer a number of advantages over migration consultants with no legal background. In addition to providing a high-quality service, migration lawyers can provide guidance on all the visa applications available under Australian law.
In addition, immigration lawyers are well-placed to assist with applications to the Migration Review Tribunal, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and all submissions to the Federal Court and High Court of Australia.
Popular avenues for skilled workers seeking employment in Australia include temporary and permanent employer-sponsored visas, as well as onshore and offshore permanent residence skilled visas.
Your migration lawyer can tell you which visa category might be most suitable for you - or your employee - and can offer honest and realistic advice about the prospects of a case.
Obviously, employers and visa applicants need to know whether their application will have reasonable prospects of success before they invest time and money into the process.
A skilled immigration lawyer can advise you on your options and likely outcomes - and can even offer representation to maximise your chance of getting your visa approved.