Border Force detain Malaysian and Nepalese nationals in relation to illegal worker exploitation

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Officers from the Australian Border Force (ABF), assisted by officers from the WA Police Force (WAPF), detained eight unlawful non-citizens following the execution of migration related warrants on two properties at Kununurra in the far north of Western Australia on Tuesday (17 July).

Six Malaysian nationals and two from Nepal were detained and taken to the Kununurra Police Station for interview.

Acting Superintendent Anthony Spadavecchia from ABF’s Enforcement Command said three of those detained are suspected of higher level involvement in worker exploitation and are being held in detention ahead of their removal from Australia.

“The remaining five individuals were conditionally released, contingent on their immediate departure from Australia,” Acting Superintendent Spadavecchia said

“This operation specifically targeted labour hire intermediaries and employers suspected of exploiting foreign workers.

“Illegal workers are often underpaid and poorly treated, and those facilitating their employment are making significant profits at their expense. It also puts legitimate local businesses at a disadvantage.”

In cases of organised visa fraud, the Australian Border Force can pursue offences carrying penalties up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $210,000 for individuals and $1,050,000 for corporations.

Investigations into illegal labour hire in the region are continuing.

“The ABF is committed to tackling the practice of illegal work in Australia – wherever it occurs. The remoteness of Kununurra posed some logistical challenges for the operation and ABF is very grateful to the WA Police Force, and in particular the Kununurra Police, for their ongoing assistance with these matters,” Acting Superintendent Spadavecchia said.

Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who might be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact australia.gov.au/borderwatch.

Source: Australian Border Force