Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Perth International Airport have prevented a group of five Malaysian nationals from entering Australia to work illegally.
A sixth person, a 34 year old Malaysian man, was also refused entry after he admitted to facilitating the group’s travel to Australia.
The group arrived on a flight from Kuala Lumpur yesterday (Thursday, 27 February), all on tourist visas.
During initial questioning the 34 year-old told immigration clearance officers the others were “family and friends”, but later admitted he was paid 500 Malaysian Ringgit (approximately AUD$180) per passenger to facilitate their travel to Australia to work on farms in WA.
Investigations did not find any evidence of human trafficking.
The facilitator and four adults, two men aged 33 and 31 and two women aged 20 and 27, were placed in immigration detention overnight prior to their removal from Australia earlier today.
The fifth group member, a 17 year male, was placed in an Alternative Place of Detention (APOD) before he too was removed on the same flight back to Kuala Lumpur.
ABF Regional Commander James Copeman acknowledged the efforts of the officers who saw through the deception and confirmed the group were non-genuine tourists.
“Unfortunately we see foreign nationals attempting to enter Australia to work illegally on a regular basis. The ABF remains committed to tackling foreign worker exploitation,” Commander Copeman said.
“This was a deliberate attempt to bring five people into the country under false pretences, and full credit to the ABF officers at Perth Airport who picked them up.
“Illegal foreign workers can be extremely vulnerable to underpayment and poor treatment, while the unscrupulous individuals facilitating them are profiting at their expense.”
Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who might be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work urged to contact Border Watch at www.abf.gov.au/borderwatch. This can be done anonymously.