How to check your staff rights to work in Australia and avoid huge fines.

How to check your staff rights to work in Australia and avoid huge fines.

Visa Check - 24/11/2015

I read an interesting article in Smart Company recently emphasising six laws that you may not know you are breaking as an employer.

Whilst the laws highlighted were absolutely relevant, one crucial omission was checking a workers citizenship and then validating and monitoring non-Australians work rights.

Under employment law, any Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) who engages a worker must conduct such a check, and the penalties enforced by the Government are certainly significant enough to ensure that if you engage workers, then you need to find an effective and efficient method to validate, manage and monitor this process.

As noted by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection:

‘Legal workers are Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens. Some visa holders are also legal workers. Not all visas allow people to work. Some Australian visas have work restrictions which may include not being able to work at all or only being able to work with a certain employer or a specific number of hours. Foreign nationals who don’t have a valid visa are not allowed to work in Australia. This might include a person whose visa has expired or been cancelled.’

We meet and service hundreds of companies across Australia and unfortunately some industry sectors and PCBU’s are still unaware that validating an individual’s citizenship and subsequent work rights is a legal requirement.

Alarmingly, some entities are relying on the receipt of a tax file number, driver’s licence or Medicare card. It is important to note that this evidence does not constitute a work rights check, nor confirm details of individuals’ working conditions (if they in fact have work rights).

As a compliance specialist, WorkPro has worked closely with the DIBP to offer a simple, integrated free visa check, available as part of WorkPro’s compliance platform.

The checking process is simple:

  1. An individual registers their citizenship during registration.
  2. If they select Australian Citizen, they are required to prove their citizenship (using their passport, birth certificate, citizenship certificate as the only acceptable identification for this purpose).
  3. If they select ‘non-Australian’, they are to provide DOB, Passport #, Country of Issue, and full name on passport.
  4. This information is packaged up and available for viewing and seamlessly submitting to the Department’s VEVO database.
  5. The results will be returned in a few seconds, accompanied by a comprehensive report about the person’s work rights which can remain securely stored in WorkPro or saved as a PDF to your candidate management system.
  6. If the person has limited work rights, you will be able to add a calendar reminder where you will receive an email alert reminding you to re-check the visa in order to ensure that you continue to employ the person legally.

Importantly all checks are centralised in a single portal and able to viewed, and transparently reported as part of your broader compliance strategy.

Avoid a maximum fine of $270K!

Do not delay in getting this aspect of your compliance under control. The WorkPro service is free yet the DIBP penalties are substantial – up to $270K! Get started immediately; contact us on 1300 975776.

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