Immigration officials are keen that everyone from employers, visa holders and those considering moving to Australia should be aware of skilled migration options and the new laws and penalties that have been introduced recently. Be visa aware, that is the message that is being sent out as outreach officers visit a series of locations to explain the significant changes to the employer sponsored skilled visa programme which were introduced in July of last year. The main changes are centred around SkillSelect, an online service that connects Australian employers with potential skilled migrants and streamlines the pathway to permanent residence for people already working in Australia on temporary skilled 457 visas. Officials from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) believe it is important to educate businesses about their responsibility for checking to ensure that workers they employ are allowed to work in Australia. It has information on new laws recently passed by Parliament which introduce civil penalties and infringement notices for employers or suppliers of illegal workers. Officials are vociferous in tracking down offenders and immigration compliance officers have, in the last few says, located 14 illegal workers and visa over stayers in a series of compliance operations in the New South Wales Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions. A total of nine men and five women were discovered to be unlawful. They indicate the range of different countries where immigrants come from with the group comprising of five Malaysians, six from China, and one each from Italy, Thailand and Vietnam. Eight of them were detained and transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, where they will be removed from Australia at the earliest opportunity and six were granted bridging visas with strict conditions. A number of the operations were conducted in response to community information provided to the department’s telephone dob-in line. While information was also received through other sources investigations into the circumstances of the employment of the illegal workers are still continuing. Quote from AustraliaForum.com : “14-02-2013 – Compliance officers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) today located 11 illegal workers at a residential property in the northern Perth suburb of Girrawheen.” Meanwhile, in a separate operation at private premises in the Sydney suburb of Canley Vale immigration compliance officers located five unlawful non-citizens. Two couples, from Malaysia and China, were detained and transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre pending their removal from Australia while a Malaysian woman was granted a temporary bridging visa. ‘Employers should be aware it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly allow a person to work illegally or to refer an illegal worker for work,’ a DIAC spokesman said. It wants employers to be aware that the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service is available for them to check the relevant identification details of prospective employees, with their consent, to quickly confirm if they are eligible to work in Australia. Employers convicted under Commonwealth legislation of employing illegal workers face fines of up to $20,400 and two years’ imprisonment while companies face fines of up to $102,000 per illegal worker. According to DIAC figures in 2011/2012 almost 2000 people were caught working illegally in Australia. ‘This activity continued across the country this financial year with a further 1,029 illegal workers found to December 31,’ the spokesman explained. Source: http://www.australiaforum.com/information/immigration/australian-employers-visa-holders-and-applicants-warned-about-migration-changes.html
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