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Fair work inspectors granted power to check immigration status

New sanctions were passed in 2013 to educate, and then penalise, organisations and individuals who were not actively validating and managing the working conditions of foreign workers in Australia.

A more recent regulatory change now makes it more important than ever for companies to ensure they verify and monitor the work rights of their non-Australian employees by formally conducting a visa check.

The change relates to the new responsibilities of Fair Work Inspectors – the government's team of individuals who inspect workplaces for any breaches of health and safety within the workforce. Commencing last year, Inspectors are also able to check the visa status and work rights of employees.

The number of workplace Inspectors has increased dramatically, with only 32 active investigators working across the country before this law change came into effect. In comparison, there are 360 Fair Work Inspectors, along with 183 partner agencies at the state level.

Fair work inspectors will also investigate whether an individual is employed in a position that is consistent with their visa class and that they are being paid correctly.

While the expanded role of Inspectors is something that companies need to be aware of, they aren't the only new conditions that were introduced during this change. This change means companies need to implement a robust process and system of work to administer this increased level of compliance and reporting. Companies will also need to comply with the mandatory requirement of actively validating and managing a person's work rights through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system,

It is possible for companies to easily navigate this process using WorkPro. Businesses can conduct their pre-employment checks, including visa checks, through this single web-based portal.

WorkPro can also be used to provide work health and safety training, making it easy to tackle both these compliance issues with one tool. WorkPro offers a secure, integrated link to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's VEVO system. Not only is this a convenient service that can be utilised as part of the standard WorkPro employment screening and induction program, but each check is matched with a formal report and the ability to set automatic re-check dates, ensuring easy and transparent compliance proof for any organisation.

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