• New Law Toughens Penalties for Unauthorized Employment
  • March 15, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Under a recently enacted employer sanctions law, employers will be subject to no-fault civil penalties for employing unauthorized foreign workers or allowing foreign nationals to work in breach of their visa conditions, and corporate officers may be held individually liable for noncompliance. The legislation will also establish an administrative enforcement procedure and clarify the steps employers should take to verify employment authorization. The changes are expected to take effect July 1, 2013.

    Noncompliant businesses will be subject to fines regardless of whether they knew or were reckless about verifying a foreign national’s work entitlements. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will have the authority to issue administrative infringement notices to noncompliant employers, as an alternative to pursuing court proceedings against them. The maximum penalty for an infringement notice will be AUD $3,060 for individuals and AU$15,300 for companies.

    In a positive move for employers, the legislation will introduce statutory defenses for businesses, executives and others who take reasonable steps at the appropriate times to verify a foreign national’s migration status and work permission.

    What This Means for Employers

    In order to prepare for these reforms, employers should ensure they have procedures in place to verify the work eligibility of all new employees.