The Work Rights Check should be the first box employers tick for new staff members in Australia. It’s a mandatory legal requirement for new staff in the country, and one that could save your business from hefty penalties & fines later. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to perform these checks – even with a large workforce.
When you hire a new staff member in Australia, part of your responsibility as an employer is understanding and following the rules for that candidate’s working rights in the country.
There is a range of visa restrictions, sponsorship types and general rights to live and work that need to be navigated. This can include conditions such as working hours per week, length of contracts and even location restrictions.
Under employment law, any Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) who engages a worker must conduct a Work rights check. The penalties enforced by the Government are certainly significant enough to ensure you have a simple, fast system in place as part of your onboarding process that will identify any information that may have been missed.
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.’
While it is a strictly enforced legal requirement in the country, some industry sectors and PCBU’s are still unaware of it. While onboarding is important for every business, many forget the critical step that could mean the difference between a smooth operation and a damaged reputation.
Some employers don’t perform official checks, either. Many rely 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.
Unfortunately, none of this will protect you if a spot auditor shows up on your doorstep.
How To Perform An Official Work Rights Check
Work Rights Checks that are ordered through the Department’s official VEVO database is the only way to perform a comprehensive check that will verify all working conditions for a candidate.
This can be ordered through the VEVO website, however, there are a number of restrictions that make it difficult for employers. Checks can only be ordered one at a time and must go through the entire process before ordering others. Management and storage of checks, to show evidence of compliance later, must be done by the employer. It puts a lot of pressure on administration staff to consistently perform checks and manage information that could easily be automated.
As compliance specialists, WorkPro identified the problem and partnered with the VEVO database to offer a simple and fast way to order Work Rights Checks. You can now use the WorkPro platform to order, track & manage Work Rights Checks online from a single dashboard.
The checking process is simple:
- An individual registers their citizenship during registration.
- 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).
- If they select ‘non-Australian’, they are to provide DOB, Passport #, Country of Issue, and full name on the passport.
- This information is packaged up and available for viewing and seamlessly submitting to the Department’s VEVO database.
- 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.
- 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.
Most importantly, all checks can be ordered in bulk to save time, and results are saved under staff profiles to allow for fast company-wide reporting and tracking. Smart notifications keep you on top of expiry dates so you never get lost with renewals.