Australian Border Force (ABF) officers have detained a 28 year old Chinese unlawful non-citizen suspected of being involved in the high level exploitation of foreign workers in the food processing industry in Western Australia.
The man was detained during the execution of a warrant on a residence in the southern Perth suburb of Cannington yesterday. ABF officers located him hiding in the roof space of the home unit.
It’s alleged the man established a number of shell companies acting as labour hire intermediaries to recruit workers into the food processing industry, and that those companies have been involved in money transfers totalling almost $4 million.
The search warrant was part of Operation Battenrun, a national operation targeting labour hire intermediaries and entities of interest exploiting vulnerable onshore foreign workers, including unlawful non-citizens.
The man has been taken to the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre.
ABF’s Commander of Field Operations James Copeman said the man was a high level Battenrun target after being identified as a key player in the exploitation of foreign workers in WA.
“The individuals we are targeting in this operation are not those that are being exploited but those non-citizens that are facilitating illegal work and organised migration fraud,” Commander Copeman said.
“We will not tolerate those people who are making significant profits from the exploitation of vulnerable foreign workers.
“We encourage individuals who are being exploited, regardless of visa status, to come forward and provide the ABF with information so we can identify and take action against those involved in these practices.”
Visa holders who do not comply with their visa conditions due to workplace exploitation, will generally not have their visa cancelled, be detained or removed if they come forward and assist with inquiries.
Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who might be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact Border Watch at australia.gov.au/borderwatch.