There have been recent amendments made by the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Act 2013 which introduces more stringent penalties to employers who are in violation of this law.
This is why it is essential that all employers (particularly recruitment agency managers and consultants) are aware of these changes and comply with their lawful obligations under the Act.
From 01 June 2013, if you manage workers who hold a temporary residential visa (of any kind) in Australia, you are bound to adhere to this law, regardless of whether or not you are an approved immigration sponsor.
Previously, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) was required not only to identify an employer in breach of the Act's requirements, but also establish the employer's 'guilt'. That is, DIAC needed to show that an employer allowed an employee/contractor to provide services (for the company or for others) when he was knowledgeable or reckless as to the worker's immigration status and working rights.
Only after successfully proving both factors could the Commonwealth charge this employer with an infringement notice.
Now, however, DIAC no longer have to prove this knowledge/negligence/fault element.
This means, simply if you are in breach of visa conditions or work rights, the Commonwealth can now penalise you with infringement notices from anywhere between $15,300 to $76,500!
You might find it helpful to consider the following questions:
- Can you evidence the immigration status of your entire workforce (Australian and non-Australian)?
- Do you employ workers from overseas on any type of temporary visa?
- Can you demonstrate every temporary visa holder in your workforce is working within their visa conditions?
- Do you know what your lawful employer obligations are?
- Do you have accurate internal policies, procedures and training in place to manage immigration compliance?
- Do you know how the national workplace relations system works with temporary visa workers?
- Do you know about migration worker engagement laws and employer sanctions?
- If you can't answer these questions satisfactorily or if have any concerns, then you should seek expert advice.
If you don't already have contact with a qualified migration adviser you could visit the website of the Migration Institute of Australia mia.org.au for a list of registered migration agents.