Operation Battenrun snares more unscrupulous labour hire intermediaries

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers have detained more individuals in Western Australia and Victoria as part of Operation Battenrun, a national operation targeting unscrupulous labour hire intermediaries and foreign worker exploitation.

Migration Act warrants were executed in the Perth suburb of Yokine and the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora yesterday morning, resulting in the detention of two Malaysian and two Chinese nationals.

In Perth, one of the two Malaysians detained is suspected of high-level involvement in illegal worker exploitation in the agricultural and hospitality industries. He had been living in Australia as an Unlawful Non-Citizen (UNC) since 2009. The other man detained had been working illegally in the construction industry. He had been a UNC since 2012.

In Melbourne, the two Chinese nationals were found to be working illegally. One held a visa with a no-work condition and the other had been a UNC since 2017.

All four have been detained pending their removal from Australia.

Last week eight people were detained following Operation Battenrun activity in Adelaide and Euston in New South Wales.

ABF Acting Commander of Field Operations Neil Horne said Operation Battenrun would continue across the country targeting those facilitating illegal foreign work and organised migration fraud.

“This is an operational priority for the ABF and we are working very hard to identify and take action against those organising illegal work and foreign worker exploitation,” Acting Commander Horne said.

“Illegal workers are extremely vulnerable and are often underpaid and poorly treated. Those facilitating their employment are making significant profits at their expense, and also disadvantage local businesses who do the right thing by paying and treating their workers properly.

“We have identified examples of labour hire syndicates linked to criminal groups that are involved in traditional organised crime activity including drug importations, tobacco smuggling, money laundering and serious tax crimes including evasion.”

The ABF also participates in Taskforce Cadena, to detect and disrupt criminal syndicates that profit from the criminal exploitation of foreign workers and Australia’s migration system.

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

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