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Federal legislation was introduced in early 2007 applying heavy fines and jail terms for employers who knowingly employ illegal workers.

Reports have indicated that some 46,000 people overstayed their visa in 2005 with many over staying their visa working illegally and that many visa holders work in breach of their visa obligations.


Employers who knowingly employ illegal workers can face penalties of up to $66,000 for corporations, up to $13,200 for an individual and 2 years jail can be imposed by the courts.

The changes also target employers who “recklessly” allow a non-citizen to work. That is, the employer would be aware of:-

  • There is a substantial risk the worker was breaching their visa or was an illegal worker; and
  • The employer was aware of that substantial risk; and
  • Being aware of these substantial risks the employer still employed that person.

How can an employer make any enquiries about illegal workers?   

Employers and labour hire suppliers can clarify their obligations when employing visa workers as well as register with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DiaC) to verify a person’s immigration status. See DiaC’s website at

Master Builder members can contact the Master Builders Construction Director on 9476 9800.

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