Australian Border Force (ABF) officers, Queensland Police Service and the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) have targeted a suspected illegal foreign worker operation in regional Queensland.
Warrants were executed yesterday on a property near Stanthorpe in southern Queensland where 27 illegal workers were located. They now face removal from Australia.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said this was another good result in the fight against those who continue to employ illegal foreign workers and foreign nationals who abuse Australia's visa programmes.
"The Government is serious about ensuring that we have integrity in our visa programmes and we will continue to target individuals and businesses involved in visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign nationals," Mr Dutton said.
"Employers have a responsibility for ensuring that their workers, whether domestic or foreign, are employed legally and that they receive all of their respective entitlements. Those employers seeking to bypass Australia's workplace and immigration laws are on notice – the ABF is working closely with law enforcement agencies and the FWO to track you down and prosecute you.
"Likewise, foreign nationals who enter Australia are expected to abide by the conditions of their visa."
The Government established a specialist multi-agency Taskforce in 2015, known as Taskforce Cadena, to target and disrupt the organisers of visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign workers.
Taskforce Cadena brings together the resources and capabilities of the ABF and the FWO, plus other agencies including the Australian Federal Police, ASIC and the ATO, to investigate and prosecute illegal practices in the temporary visa programmes
Since its inception, Taskforce Cadena has been active in disrupting and disbanding illegal worker operations, with 36 warrants having been executed as part of 13 separate operations.
Employers found to engaging illegal workers or exploiting foreign nationals may face a range of penalties under the Migration Act and Fair Work Act including hefty fines or criminal prosecution.
Anyone with information relating to potential immigration offences are encouraged to contact the ABF on 1800 009 623.