Joint media release - The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Luke Howarth MP, Federal Member for Petrie
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, working closely with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Queensland Police Service, detained 17 people found illegally working in the construction industry in Brisbane today.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said that a team of 50 officers were involved in the operation, which located 13 people from China and four from Malaysia.
Seven of the Chinese men were unlawful non-citizens and six were working in breach of their visa conditions. Three Malaysians were unlawful non-citizens and one was working in breach of his visa conditions. All were working illegally in the construction sector.
"Australians can be assured that we are committed to being as tough on those who seek to rort our migration programmes as we are on those who arrive illegally by boat. We will devote the same resolve, resources and commitment that is necessary to get the job done," Mr Dutton said.
"Under the Coalition Government, immigration compliance teams are not just targeting illegal workers but also employers who are doing the wrong thing. The Government will actively pursue substantial fines to deter further illegal work practices."
Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth MP said that it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that any foreign workers they are considering employing hold valid visas with work rights.
"It's unfortunate that something like this happens when there are unemployed local people looking for work," said Mr Howarth.
Maximum penalties per illegal worker include infringements from $3 060 for individuals and $15 300 for bodies corporate; up to $51 000 and/or five years imprisonment for individuals and $255 000 for bodies corporate for aggravated criminal offences.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection works closely with employers who want to do the right things by assisting them to complying with their obligations. Employers can easily check visas and work rights through the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) tool, free of charge on the Department's website.
People with information about illegal workers or visa overstayers should call the Immigration Dob-In Service on 1800 009 623.