TWENTY foreign citizens have been detained in Australia after they were found working illegally in regional Victoria.
Australian Border Force (ABF) officers found the unlawful non-citizens from Indonesia and Malaysia during raids on three residential properties at Shepparton, in the state’s north, on Wednesday.
The ABF alleges the 20 foreigners were in the country working illegally.
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Evidence obtained during the raids will be used to investigate agencies who hire illegal workers, the ABF said.
Regional ABF Commander for Victoria, James Watson, said Wednesday’s operation should serve as a warning.
“This operation sends a strong message to the individuals involved; if you are in Australia without a valid visa, if you work in breach of your visa conditions or if you are exploiting foreign workers, you will be caught,” Commander Watson said.
“There are heavy penalties that can apply to individuals and organisers who engage in illegal work.
“Anyone found to have employed illegal workers could face penalties of up to $108,000 per illegal worker.”
Wednesday’s bust came after ABF officers found three Malaysia nationals working illegally in Western Australia.
Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who may be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact Border Watch on 1800 009 623.