Six people have been apprehended at Flemington Markets in Sydney after it became known that they were working illegally.
The five women and one man - all aged in their 20s – were living and working in Australia even though their visas had expired and they did not have permission to work.
The six individuals from the Peoples Republic of China originally entered into the country on temporary student visas.
Officials from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have reported that two of the women had already applied for permanent residency but their applications had been unsuccessful.
A departmental spokesman reminded business owners that the onus was on them to ensure that they only hired people with the legal right to work in Australia.
DIAC investigations into the employment conditions of the six workers are continuing, with businesses that hire migrant workers in contradiction of their visas potentially facing fines of up to $66,000 per illegal employee.
Under Commonwealth legislation the employers themselves can be liable for penalties of $13,200 and two years’ imprisonment for each international labourer hired in breach of their employment terms.
The spokesman asserted: "While student visa holders may have work rights, illegal workers in Australia will not be tolerated and the department actively investigates community reports and takes swift action to apprehend non-citizens without work rights".
A second interview with the Australian Associated Press had a departmental spokeswoman echoing this advice before expanding on the nature of the apprehension, asserting: "These are not people who have been mistakenly breaking the law."
An experienced firm of immigration lawyers can provide managers with trusted advice on the documentation required by the DIAC to prove an employee has the right to work in Australia.
Business owners are aware of the value represented by hiring overseas workers. The DIAC recognises that some firms rely on international employees to provide them with certain skill sets that the local labour supply may lack.
To assist in this, the department has a number of avenues available to companies looking to hire skilled international labourers.
These include the 457 visa which allows firms to sponsor an overseas employee to live and work in Australia for up to four years - a situation which can benefit both parties.
Businesses considering the options presented by hiring international labour could benefit from engaging the services of a migration lawyer who can help them navigate the legal requirements of the sponsorship agreements.