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Top 5 Tips When Engaging a Foreign Worker

Date: 04 October 2018

Labour, Employment and Workplace Safety partner, Michael Stutley shares the top five things you should know if you are thinking of engaging a foreign worker. 


Visitors to Australia contribute a lot to our economy, our businesses, our growth and our culture. But, did you know that not everyone that comes to Australia on a visa has permission to work?

So what are the top five things you should know if you are thinking of engaging a foreign worker?

  1. Know your obligations – there are certain obligations that an employer must meet pre, during and post-employment. Be aware of all obligations imposed by the Migration Act and the Fair Work Act. Also, be aware of issues such as race discrimination and ensure that foreign workers receive the same terms and conditions of employment as an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  2. Conduct Visa Entitlement Verifications Online (VEVO) – employers should be conducting a VEVO before employing a foreign worker and at reasonable times throughout employment, for example, around visa expiry or on being informed of a change in circumstances.
  3. Review your contracts – The employment contract should include relevant clauses regarding the ongoing condition of employment being a right to work, compliance with visa conditions and requiring immediate notification of any change in circumstances or visa status. Also include a clause providing the employer with the worker's ongoing consent to undertake VEVOs.
  4. Notify the Department of Home Affairs – there are several circumstances in which the Department of Home Affairs must be notified of changes. Some examples are a change in business structure, change of business name or ABN, appointment or cessation of directors and a foreign worker ceasing employment.
  5.  Seek advice – employers should immediately seek advice if contacted by the Australian Border Force with respect to possible enforcement action. The Australian Border Force can exercise significant powers that could result in revocation of sponsorship approval, warning notices, infringements and civil or criminal penalties.

 If you stick to these top 5 tips, you'll be on the right track.

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