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Immigration locations at record levels: illegals beware.



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Senator Amanda Vanstone MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

Immigration Locations at Record Levels - Illegals Beware

VPS 019/2003

The Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs is on track to locate a record number of people unlawfully in Australia this financial year.

The message is clear - if you are here illegally, it is not a matter of if, but when you will be caught.

From July to October this financial year, more than 7,500 people unlawfully in Australia have been located by DIMIA. In the same period last year 7,250 such people were located. That's an increase of 4.3 per cent.

The location trends this financial year suggest that DIMIA may locate more than 22,500 unlawful non-citizens, which will be an all time record.

This success is due to increasingly effective field operations by compliance officers and an increase in the number of unlawful non-citizens voluntarily approaching the department.

This has been helped by a number of new initiatives, including Employer Awareness information sessions, an employers' work rights checking line and facilities for employers to check the work rights of prospective employees. These initiatives make it increasingly difficult for non-citizens with no authority to work in Australia to get jobs to which they are not entitled.

People who approach DIMIA voluntarily to minimise the consequences of their unlawful stay now account for about 57 per cent of unlawfuls located. The increase in voluntary approaches is a clear sign that DIMIA's messages and the public information strategy are working well.

The Australian community should not have to tolerate people working or living illegally in Australia. Every day the department receives information from community sources regarding the location of unlawful non-citizens and of people with no work rights working unlawfully and taking jobs away from the unemployed.

DIMIA takes seriously community information and follows the leads they provide as quickly as possible. Many unlawfuls and illegal workers are located thanks to community information.

24 December 2003