The Australian Border Force (ABF) supported by Northern Territory Police has detained 20 people working illegally in the local agricultural industry.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said the two day operation over September 29 and 30 involved the inspection of commercial accommodation and agricultural properties.
“These operations just outside Darwin city are a reminder that the ABF is active in targeting illegal workers,” Mr Dutton said.
“The group comprised 17 men and three women from Thailand and Malaysia and they have been taken to Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre.
“The majority were found to be unlawful non-citizens as they had overstayed their tourist and student visas while others held valid student visas, but were working illegally on those visas.
“I want to reiterate to regional employers and labour hire contractors that if they are caught hiring illegal workers they face substantial fines and civil penalties for allowing or referring people to undertake illegal work,” Mr Dutton said.
Employers convicted under Commonwealth legislation for employing illegal workers face fines of up to $20,400 and a jail term up to two years while companies face fines of up to $102,000 per illegal worker.
People who suspect illegal workers or visa over-stayers can provide confidential information to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on 1800 009 623.
Employers can check the visa details and work rights of non-citizens using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) tool on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website – www.border.gov.au.