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Immigration crackdown

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M igration m edia release 12/99 Page 1 o f 2


Philip Ruddock MR Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation

Immigration crackdown MPS 12/99

Immigration officers located 18 people near Moree in New South Wales yesterday as part of an ongoing national campaign to ensure all visitors to Australia

comply with the terms and conditions of their visas, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said today.

Mr Ruddock said that three of the people were found to be in Australia unlawfully and 15 were working in breach of the terms and conditions of their visas.

"These people were detained after buses carrying workers travelling to farms in the area were intercepted by immigration officers and NSW police."

The group of 8 women and 10 men included Fijians, Israelis, Macedonians, Yugoslavians, Romanians and French nationals.

Immigration officers are continuing to interview seven of the people. The remaining 11 have been granted bridging visas to arrange their travel from Australia.

Mr Ruddock said the national campaign has resulted in 12,679 people being located during 1997-98, a 12 per cent increase on the 1996-97 total of 10,339.

"My Department regularly data-matches information about individuals with other Commonwealth Government agencies such as the Australian Tax Office and the Health Insurance Commission (Medicare) in order to apprehend such people.

"People who are located as being in the country illegally or working illegally face having their visa cancelled and being detained and removed from Australia. They are also liable for the cost of their

detention and removal.

"Their details are also placed on the Department's Movement Alert 1 1st (MAT) which means that any future application to visit Australia will be more carefully scrutinised."

Mr Ruddock said that it is important that employers, particularly those in rural industries, make sure the people they hire are entitled to work in Australia.

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M igration m edia release 12/99 Page 2 o f 2

"Employers should ask all prospective employees for proof of identity and immigration status - even if they have been sent by a contractor or agency.

"Employers can contact my Department on 131 881 for assistance with these checks.

"By checking work rights, employers help stop visitors from working illegally, thereby making jobs available for those who are legally entitled to work.

"Not only is it an offence for non-citizens to work without appropriate permission, but employers who knowingly hire illegal workers can be charged with an offence under the Commonwealth Crimes Act."

Friday, 29 January 1999 Media Inquiries: Brad Robinson (02) 6277 7860 or 0419 278 715.

**Editor's note - For further information about this operation, please contact the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Public Affairs Section on (02) 6264 2244.

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http://ww w .m m edia99/r99012.htm 16/03/1999