Risks of illegal working in Australia

On 23 January 2009 the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) reminded Australian employers to check that their staff have the right to work in Australia.

"Checking work entitlements make good business sense," a DIAC spokesman said. "The last thing a business owner wants is to lose a worker because they do not have a valid visa to work in Australia."

DIAC says that employers in the retail and hospitality industries are among those at the highest risk of hiring illegal workers.

"All employers need to be aware that it is a criminal offence to employ or refer a person for work where that person does not hold the entitlement to work in Australia," the spokesman said.

"Employers convicted of these offences could face fines of up to $13 200 and two years' imprisonment per illegal worker hired."

"Companies face fines of up to $66 000 per illegal worker."

Employers can check work entitlements at any time by using DIAC's internet-based Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) or faxback.