Australia to deport 11 Indian workers

May 8th, 2008 - 7:24 pm ICT by admin  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, May 8 (IANS) Eleven Indians working illegally in Australia will be deported after they were caught in the New South Wales Riverina by Department of Immigration and Citizenship officials, who have also found evidence of possible exploitation by employers. Six unlawful non-citizens, three men and three women - all Indian nationals, were detained in Griffith. Four more Indian nationals, three men and a woman, were detained for working in breach of their visa conditions in Hillston, while an Indian man and a Pakistani man were also found to be unlawful non-citizens.

All 12 have been transferred to the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney where arrangements will be made for their deportation.

The illegal workers, who had originally arrived in Australia legally with valid visas, were believed to have been working in the horticultural industry on several farms in the region.

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said Thursday: “Immigration officers obtained crucial information that will help further investigation into the source of illegal labour in the region.

“The Rudd government takes a zero-tolerance approach towards illegal workers and similarly, there are no excuses for employers who engage workers without valid visas,” Senator Evans added.

The immigration minister said the New South Wales Riverina operation had yielded evidence of possible worker exploitation and migration agent fraud.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship compliance officers have interviewed about 50 people of interest after executing search warrants in Hillston and visiting homes in Griffith.

Employers convicted under this legislation face fines of up to Australian $13,200 (US$ 12,426) and two years imprisonment while companies face fines of up to A$66,000 (US$ 62,133) per illegal worker.

In March this year, a Sydney restaurateur, who had been ordered to serve a suspended jail sentence in November 2007 for falsifying immigration documents to bring an Indian chef to Australia, was fined A$18,200 (US$ 17,132) for exploiting the worker.

India has become the third largest source of international immigrants and second largest source of skilled migrants and international students to Australia.

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