Migration Amendment Bill Creates National Compliance Headache
A Bill introduced in Parliament today aimed at cracking down on illegal workers has the potential to create unnecessary legal risk for all employers including the building and construction industry.
The Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Bill which was introduced into the House of Representatives today requires all Australian employers to check the Australian work rights of all current and future employees and contractors or risk substantial no-fault fines.
Chief Executive of Master Builders Australia, Wilhelm Harnisch, said Master Builders strongly opposes the use of illegal workers, however this Bill is misdirected and unbalanced. It introduces across-the-board costly checking procedures for all employers to catch a few who do the wrong thing.
“Master Builders supports initiatives to stop the use of illegal workers, but this legislation creates a complex compliance burden on business and for most businesses it is not workable.
“It presents a particular compliance burden on the construction industry that has an ethnically diverse workforce.
“The way the legislation is structured means that employers would be required to sight a passport, birth certificate working eligibility rights through a government computer programme. This includes existing employees, regardless of how long they have been employed.
“Whilst the department has indicated that it will take a staged approach to applying sanctions, the legislation does not reflect this process.
“This bill needs to be substantially rewritten to add clarity for employers and reflect the way it is intended to be administered,” Mr Harnisch concluded.