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Illegal workers estimated at thousands

July 21st, 2011 Australia

The Federal Government plans a major crackdown on illegal workers, saying up to 100,000 immigrants could be working without visas in the country and current laws are no deterrent.

The move comes after the issue of a report, authored by independent legal expert Stephen Howells, which found evidence of a growing number of illegal workers, associated in part with organised crime and sexual exploitation.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen intended to accept the findings of Mr Howells’ report, including the introduction of a three-tiered sanctions regime to penalise employers who use illegal workers, with civil penalties and fines of up to $10,000 per illegal worker.

”The report finds that the current law simply does not work,” Mr Bowen said.

The Howells report estimates there are at least 50,000 illegal workers in Australia and potentially more than 100,000.