Company Directors and Officers and Illegal Workers

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Where a business engages illegal workers, “Executive Officers” of companies may face personal liability. Penalties apply if the officer knew or was negligent about ensuring that workers have appropriate visas and work rights.

Under the applicable legislation, “Executive Officers” include:

  • Directors of companies
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Company Secretaries

An executive officer may be personally liable if they know or are negligent as to whether workers are engaged in breach of visa conditions (s.245AJ).

If they are a position to influence conduct of the company, executive officers must take all reasonable steps to avoid the breach being committed. Criminal and civil penalties can apply.

Directors and company officers must take steps to ensure the business is employing best practice in checking workers’ visa status to avoid potential personal liability.

The best way to ensure compliance with the legislation is to put into place processes to check visa status before and during employment of any temporary visa holders.