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Aus authorities find 50 illegal Indian workers

india Updated: Jul 19, 2008 02:21 IST

PTI
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Australia said it found 1,179 illegal workers including 50 Indians in the country and warned that the government will slap "severe penalties" on them for breaching their visa conditions.

"The Government is committed to maintaining the integrity of Australia's visa programme by locating people who are working illegally or overstaying their visas," Immigration Minister Chris Evans said.

"Severe penalties can apply to people who hire workers who do not have work rights in Australia," Evans said.

The Immigration minister said rogue employers will face fines of up to 13,200 Australian dollar and two years' of imprisonment while companies will face fines of up to 66,000 Australian dollar per illegal worker.

Australian authorities found 1179 illegal workers in the first three quarters of the year compared with 1308 for the full year in 2006-07.

The highest numbers of illegal workers to March 31 were found in Victoria (354), New South Wales (281) and South Australia (219).

Nearly a third of the illegal workers located in 2007-08 were from Malaysia (374), followed by China (145), Indonesia (89), the UK (67), the Philippines (51), India (50), Vietnam (48) Thailand (44) South Korea (32) and Ireland (21), he said in a statement.

Immigration authorities in the Victorian regions of Robinvale and Swan Hill this week have located 17 illegal foreign workers.

Evans said the 17 Thai, Malaysian and Filipino nationals were now in immigration detention.

Fifteen of the group did not have valid visas while two others were working in breach of their visa conditions, he said.