Many readers would probably have seen one of those nightly current affair programs in which a reporter accompanies immigration inspectors who are conducting a raid on a place of employment which has either knowingly, or recklessly, hired workers who aren’t allowed to work in Australia. Furthermore, most readers will probably also be aware that hiring workers who are not permitted to legally work in the country, is an offence under the Migration Act 1958 (the Act), and any employer who is found to be in breach of the Act, may face substantial penalties.
We have already covered extensively the different types of visas that are needed to enter the country, which bestows the visa holder numerous rights. Some visas allow visitors to gain employment while in Australia, while other types of visas prevent a person who is not either a permanent resident, or citizen, from working whilst in the country. Although, it should be noted, that visa holders who are legally entitled to work while in the country, may be still be in breach of their visa conditions if they have infringed of certain restrictions – such as the number of hours the person is allowed to work per week – which may be considered as a breach in regards to the specific type of visa that the person is holding.
How are employers affected?
Any person or company who hires an employee whose visa does not allow them to lawfully work while in the country, may be committing an offence if they have directly contracted the person, whilst knowing that the individual does not have the right to work in Australia.
However, if an employer obtains the services of an employee through a recruitment agency, which was the entity who had hired the unlawful worker knowingly, may be t