Government takes tougher stand against employing illegal workers
Friday, 03 August 2012
The government is releasing new laws for consultation designed to crack down on employers who hire illegal workers, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, announced today.
The draft legislation, the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Bill 2012, is being released for public consultation. It is an essential part of the government's effort to stamp out illegal work practices used by employers and labour suppliers to gain a competitive advantage.
'Illegal workers undermine the integrity of Australia's migration program, reduce work opportunities for Australians, and expose vulnerable workers to exploitation,' Mr Bowen said.
'Limited criminal sanctions introduced by the Howard Government in 2007 have proved ineffective, so new measures are needed.'
The Gillard Government will legislate to put in place fines and a civil penalty regime for employers who deliberately employ and seek to exploit foreign workers who do not have valid work visas.
'This legislation will provide a more effective system of penalties to stop employers wilfully doing the wrong thing, with graduated tiers of sanctions – infringement notices, non-fault civil penalties and criminal sanctions,' Mr Bowen said.
'The Bill also extends liability to certain third parties in order to address sham contracting arrangements often established to circumvent the law, and includes statutory defences to protect those who seek to do the right thing by verifying the work entitlements of non-citizens whom they allow or refer to work.'
The release of draft legislation follows the announcement of the government's response to the Howells Review in December last year.
The government is seeking views on the exposure draft Bill before its introduction to Parliament later this year.
A copy of the exposure draft of the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Bill 2012 is available on DIAC's website.
See: Proposed Legislative Reforms and Policy Commentary
Enquiries and submissions on the exposure draft Bill should be sent to the department by 21 August 2012.
Last update: Friday, 03 August 2012 at 14:54 AEST