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How to effectively manage staff work rights in Australia

Every time a business hires a new staff member in Australia, they must verify their citizenship, rights and conditions to work in the country. This government regulation applies to all businesses, but doesn’t have to be a burden. Here’s what you need to know about the obligation and how to meet the requirement quickly.

Australia is a great place to live and work, and the world knows it. According to the Parliament of Australia there are almost 200,000 immigrants to the country every year, many of which form part of Australia’s growing workforce and are important economic contributors.

Foreign workers can bring plenty of knowledge, skills and passion to jobs in a range of industries. However, many of them have conditional working rights for the country which must be understood and followed by businesses when offering them work.

The Department of Home Affairs requires all businesses under The Migration Act (1958) to validate the working rights of their workers. Penalties and fines can be up to $102,000 for ordinary breaches or $255,000 for aggravated breaches where a business knew they were violating conditions. Where businesses aren’t aware of the conditions, fines can still be up to $76,500 per worker.

To ensure businesses are on top of these conditions, it is an Australian government requirement that workers be checked when employment is offered. Thankfully, in 2018 performing these official checks is now easier and faster than ever before.

Here are all the facts businesses must know in 2018 about work rights checks, and the best ways to complete them fast for a fully compliant workforce.

Which workforce members must be checked?

Government requirements state that every new worker, regardless of their nationality, must have their citizenship validated. That includes both foreign workers as well as Australian citizens.

To summarise: businesses must check the working rights of all individuals during the screening process. It is logical to conduct such a check at the screening stage, as the outcome may impact the engagement of that individual.

When hiring overseas workers there are a range of visa restrictions, sponsorship types and conditions for living and working in Australia. These regulations can include hours worked per week, length of employment, location restrictions and more.

All businesses by law are obligated to check and confirm these working rights during the recruitment and onboarding process. This ensures the regulations are understood and the appropriate protocols applied for ongoing monitoring and administration.

It is also a legal requirement for businesses to verify the citizenship details of Australian workers. This can be done by collecting a copy of their passport, citizenship certificate or birth certificate to validate the claim. You will need to securely store this information as part of your compliance obligation.

New changes to work rights in 2018
In March 2018 the Visa 457 for skilled migrants was abolished, with immigration rules tightened further for workforces in Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs are now monitoring visa conditions and employment of foreign workers as a result. For this reason, it’s more critical than ever for businesses to verify workforce compliance to meet Australian laws.

For more information on the new changes to work rights in Australia visit Absolute Immigration.

How to perform official work rights checks online

Many businesses have traditionally accepted a tax file number, Medicare card or driver’s licence as a confirmation of residency. However, this does not confirm work rights or conditions.

The only way for businesses to 100% check ever new worker as part of Australian regulations is by performing an official work rights check. The good news is this can be done quickly and easily – and it’s all online.

The only way to perform an official work rights check is through the official VEVO government database. There are two ways that businesses can do this.

The first is by ordering checks directly using a VEVO account. Your businesses can sign up for this account on the VEVO website. However, checks can be ordered only one at a time. Once the check is complete, the management and storage must be taken care of by the business. This takes up hours of administration time which could be used for more important things (we’ll let you imagine what those are for you – we’re sure there’s a few!). Have you thought about rechecks? You’ll also need to add an alert to Outlook or manage these death by spreadsheet.

WorkPro have partnered with the VEVO government database and Department of Home Affairs to offer a powerful online solution that makes these checks simple for businesses. It’s now possible to streamline your work rights checks by ordering them on the WorkPro platform. Send bulk requests, track checks anywhere, and store and access results online instantly receive auto-reminders and conduct instant rechecks.

Work rights checks made simple! Order them in bulk to save time, and manage check results online from one account. Company-wide reporting and smart notifications make it simple for businesses to check work rights online quickly and get on with their workforce onboarding.

To learn more about work rights or start ordering work rights checks online, contact WorkPro today.


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