DIAC charges highlight importance of working visas

Date: Jul 25, 2011

A recent operation by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has highlighted the need for skilled migrant workers and their employers to ensure they have the correct visas and permits in place.

Police from Griffith Local Area Command were involved in raids on July 21 2011 that saw a number of vehicles halted and their occupants questioned by DIAC compliance officers.

Other raids by police and DIAC officers required the execution of search warrants on several residential properties in the surrounding areas.

Up to 20 individuals were detained by police for breaches of the Migration Act 1958 as a result of this operation after members of the DIAC ascertained that they did not hold valid visas and were working illegally.

"Several people spoken to by compliance officers at these residences were identified as not holding valid visas," said a DIAC spokesperson.

The department will proceed with investigations into the employment circumstances of the illegal workers. It is not yet clear if the department will be pressing charges against the detainees' employers.

Companies who employ migrant workers illegally can be fined up to $66,000 per employee, while individuals who hire international workers without the right to work face fines of $13,200 and can receive up to two years' imprisonment for the offence.

The severity of these punishments highlights the importance of obtaining the correct visas for skilled migrant workers and complying with their requirements.

An experienced migration lawyer can help you navigate the visa application process and assist you in providing the DIAC with the required documentation.

Sponsoring skilled migrant workers is a valuable option for many employers who have trouble engaging employees with a particular skill set in the local community. Businesses gain workers with the required experience while the international employee gains overseas experience.

The temporary sponsored skilled visa is a popular choice with migrant workers and employers alike, as it allows businesses in Australia to sponsor overseas workers to fill specified roles for up to four years.

While undoubtedly useful, sponsoring a skilled migrant worker can be a time-consuming, trying task for all concerned and requires non-refundable fees to be paid as part of the process.

Individuals and businesses looking to hire migrant workers would benefit from an appraisal of the likely success of a sponsorship application before proceeding.

Employers interested in employing skilled migrant workers should speak to a trusted immigration lawyer for assistance with the application process.