Employer fined for exploiting staff

An Australian court has fined an employer for exploiting a worker. A Federal Magistrates Court has fined  Sahan Enterprises Pty Ltd for underpaying a worker by $10 000.

The Victorian 457 visa sponsor has been fined  $35 000 and costs of almost $11 000.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) welcomed the court decision that emphasised the need to deter other employer sponsors from breaching their obligations.

This is the first time action had been brought before the courts under the Migration Legislation Amendment (Worker Protection) Act 2008.

The court found Sahan had failed two of the obligations: the obligation to pay equivalent terms and conditions, and the obligation to keep appropriate pay records.

A departmental spokesman said the department will not tolerate abuse of the skilled migration program and this finding should send a strong signal to sponsors that they must fulfil their sponsorship obligations.

“Sponsors found to be doing the wrong thing by the department’s inspectors may be subject to administrative sanctions, an infringement or civil litigation, as in the case of Sahan Enterprises.”

During the monitoring process, inspectors uncovered failures of the sponsorship obligations. The sponsor was initially served with an infringement notice and asked to repay the visa holder.

The sponsor did not comply with the requests and the matter was referred to the courts for a civil penalty.

The spokesman said the court finding represents a significant win and underscores the strength and importance of the reforms embodied in the Migration Legislation Amendment (Worker Protection) Act 2008 (the Worker Protection Act) sponsorship obligations.


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