Employer Sanctions Legislation Passes Through Senate

Employer Sanctions Legislation Passed

The Employer Sanctions Bill was passed by the Senate on 27 February 2013.

As a result, it will pass into law once it receives the Royal Assent.

The new Employer Sanctions legislation raises the bar on businesses to ensure that they are not hiring illegal workers.

The new legislation will affect:

  • Employers: who must ensure that direct employees, as well as any temps or contractors, have appropriate work rights
  • Recruiters: who must check work rights before referring a candidate for employment
  • Company Directors & Officers: who may be personally liable if they do not ensure adequate systems and processes are in place to conduct visa checks.

The Department of Home Affairs can issue infringement notices of $15,300 for each offence, and the maximum penalty is $76,500 if court action is initiated.

Unlike previous legislation, the Department of Home Affairs does not need to show that the business was negligent, reckless or intended to hire an illegal worker. The mere fact that a person did not have work rights is enough to prove an offence.

Businesses need to show a “statutory defence” to avoid liability under the new act. In most cases, this would involve showing that the business conducted visa checks at “reasonable times” to ensure that the person had work rights.

vSure is a cloud based immigration compliance software product which makes complying with the new legislation much more straightforward.

For more information, please contact vSure.