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New measures are being implemented from 1 June 2013 to penalise the illegal hiring of workers.

Receiving a warning notice or being imposed with a criminal sanction was once the only penalty you could receive for such an offence.

Under the new legislation, infringement notices and civil penalties will be given to employers found breaking the law.

Anyone using 457 immigration visas in an unsanctioned manner could be charged anything between $3,060 and $76,500 per illegal worker for doing so.

“These legislative reforms are an essential part of the government’s effort to stamp out illegal work practices and ensure local jobs are available for local job seekers,” said Brendan O’Connor, the minister for immigration and citizenship.

“This is about ensuring that laws around overseas workers are upheld and local workers aren’t disadvantaged.”

If a foreigner is caught working in breach of their visa, then the consequences are major, and include being detained, being deported, having a 3 year or longer ban on applying for another visa into Australia, as well as prosecutions and fines.

The main consequences that illegal workers fear is the ban on seeking another visa into Australia.

Indeed all visitors to Australia must respect the conditions on their visas, as the DIAC regards the grant of a visa to be a privilege which should be respected. For this reason any breach will be held against them in any future visa application. The issue becomes relevant to an assessment of the character criterion (PIC4020) as a beach of a visa evidences poor character.

Other matters that effect the character test include past bankruptcy, and police records – which is why most visa applications require a police check (at the very least) and a statement regarding any past bankruptcy.

If there are any issues with your past or current visa compliance, then you need to seek advice from an experienced migration lawyer ASAP.

At The Migration Place, we have been helping people with these sorts of issues for over ten years – and (for example) we have successfully assisted our clients to pass the character test who have been charged with offences related to drink driving, hit and run, dangerous weapons, visa breaches, past bankruptcy, and domestic violence. It is imperative that the circumstances surrounding the offence be set out, together with any mitigating circumstances, and reasons why Australia need not be concerned about the visa applicant’s future in Australia.

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