Friday, 20 December 2019
Media release

New Australian Border Force campaign to assist growers

The Hon Alan Tudge MP is currently acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

More Australian Border Force (ABF) compliance officers will be on the ground in the Wimmera Mallee region over the coming months, as part of an awareness campaign to assist growers understand their obligations when hiring overseas workers.

The campaign, which kicks off in January, forms part of the Government’s Regional Agriculture Migration Package which assists horticulture growers access overseas workers when Australians are not available to do the work.

ABF officers will undertake a range of outreach and educational activities including town-hall style meetings and planned visits to businesses.

ABF officers will assist employers to understand their obligations under Australian workplace law and ensure that they are using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) tool, which allows an employer to easily check a visa holder’s immigration status and work rights.

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the awareness campaign is in addition to the regular compliance and operational work undertaken by the ABF across Australia.  

“The educational work being undertaken in the Wimmera Mallee is in addition to the ongoing compliance work that the ABF undertakes year round,” Mr Tudge said.

“The Government is committed to providing growers with the workers they need during the busy harvest period, but it is equally important that all employers uphold their obligations to hire lawful workers and provide suitable pay and conditions.

“By having more ABF officers on the ground undertaking education and outreach activities we want to eliminate illegal work practices.

“Businesses that facilitate illegal work not only impact vulnerable workers, but also disadvantage local businesses who do the right thing by paying and treating their workers properly.”

Additional ABF officers will undertake education and outreach activities in the Wimmera Mallee region between January and April.

It is important to note that regular compliance will continue to be conducted where there is intelligence or reports of improper work practices.