Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Six farm workers sent to detention centre

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is investigating six people found to be working illegally on farms in the Rochester area.

RUTH CLAYTON February 20, 2013 4:12am

Six people found to be overstaying their visas and illegally working on farms in the Rochester area are awaiting to hear news if they will be deported.

The group, consisting of five Malaysian citizens and one Indonesian citizen, were detained and sent to the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre at the beginning of the month.

It follows the location of 11 suspected illegal farm workers in north-west Victoria in late January.

A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the department could not comment on the likely outcome of the investigation into the individuals or the employer, which was continuing.

The spokesperson said compliance officers had been out-in-force in Victoria recently.

‘‘Employers should be aware it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly allow a person to work illegally or to refer an illegal worker for work,’’ the spokesman said.

A Visa Entitlement Verification Online service is available to employers to check the relevant identification details of prospective employees, with their consent, to confirm if they are eligible to work in Australia.

Employers convicted of employing illegal workers face fines of up to $20,400 and two years’ imprisonment, while companies face fines of up to $102,000 per illegal worker.

People with information about illegal workers or people overstaying their visas are encouraged to call the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800009623.

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