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Illegal immigrants targeted

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MEDIA RELEASE Philip Ruddock MP Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Electorate Parliament House

Tel: (02) 858 1011 Tel: (06) 277 4343

Fax: (02) 804 6739 Fax: (06) 277 4178


A Bill introduced into the House last night aims at strengthening the effectiveness of Australia's immigration border controls by empowering officers to enter, search and seize documents which are believed to contain information about the identity and location of illegal entrants.

The Opposition was supportive of these initiatives but urged the Government to consider additional measures to tackle this serious problem.

"One can legitimately ask: has the Government really done as much as it can to reduce the number of illegal entrants to this country: For example, has it examined the possibility of employer sanctions?

"Could there not be a provision which makes it an offence to knowingly employ an illegal migrant. With the incentive of jobs removed, the flow of illegal migration to Australia could be significantly slowed.

"Such a provision could be strengthened by a requirement for the tax office to cite proof of status before tax file numbers are issued to applicants. Certainly some provision could be made for the issue of tax file numbers solely for banking purposes, by visitors or temporary entrants, for example, as is the case in the US.

"This system would serve several purposes: importantly, it would deter the inflow of illegal entrants; it would allow employers to have the confidence that their new employees are properly authorised to work; it would cut down on the number of legal temporary entrants and visitors not authorised to work

from obtaining employment; and it would ensure that employers do not discriminate against "foreign-looking or foreign-sounding" people only for the fear of sanctions and penalties.

"These initiatives arise from considerable research on the issue conducted in the US and they could be usefully pursued by the present Government."

8 November 1991

Contact Philip Ruddock a/h (02) 630 4575