Recruiters to face scrutiny by Australian Border Force staﬀ
Recruitment and labour hire companies can expect more “random site visits” from Australian Border Force staﬀ following a national audit into visa compliance.
The Australian National Audit Oﬃce report on the Department of Immigration’s (DIBP) ability to manage compliance with visa conditions has revealed a number of ineﬃciencies within DIBP, ones that are likely to aﬀect recruiters and labour hire providers, said Ed Jeﬀers of vSure.
“The ANAO report found that DIBP had serious weaknesses in ensuring people are working in compliance with visa conditions. As a result of the ANAO report, we expect that DIBP will be better [at] gathering and acting on information about people working in breach of visa conditions. Compliance operations will be more frequent and more eﬀective,” he said.
Jeﬀers noted DIBP had indicated it accepted the ﬁndings of the ANAO report and is actively working on addressing all recommendations.
“Recruiters and labour hire companies can expect random site visits from Australian Border Force staﬀ, particularly if they sponsor for 457 visas,” he said.
A response from the Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Border Force, included in ANAO’s report, shows these initiatives are underway, and employers are already reporting “educational visits” from uniformed Australian Border Force staﬀ, he said.
“Most of these are initiated as a result of reports to the DIBP ‘dob-in line’ and the number of such visits is quite high.”
Another issue raised by the report is that immigration compliance operations “are initiated without any clear rationale, based on risk proﬁle[s]”, said Jeﬀers.
This is due to the abolition of the risk, fraud and integrity division at DIBP, which “has seriously weakened DIBP’s data collection and analysis capabilities”, he said.
The DIBP has indicated it is developing a targeted monitoring report to rate all 457-visa sponsors, which features a risk rating based on factors such as industry, number of sponsored staﬀ, revenue, payroll expenditure, salary range and position skill level and migration agent used, Jeﬀers said.
“Employers receiving a high risk rating can expect an increased amount of attention from ﬁeld compliance oﬃcers, as well as diﬃculty in getting approval to sponsor staﬀ.”
Jeﬀers said one “shocking statistic” in ANAO’s report is the number of DIBP visa investigations open for more than 12 months as of April 2015.
“This impacts negatively on the business being investigated, as it would generally mean that processing of any sponsored visa application would be suspended until the investigation is complete. At the same time, conduct and assessment of seven out of eight activities was not fully documented meaning that they could potentially be open to challenge.”
Field teams conducted some 10,141 compliance activities between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015. In 68% of cases, further action was taken by DIBP, with only 32% dismissed with no further action, said Jeﬀers.
He said employers that are doing the wrong thing can face ﬁnes for the business and possibly company directors and oﬃcers.
“It may also have a serious impact on their Targeted Monitoring Report rating, which aﬀects the ability to sponsor workers.”