Philippines: Sydnet Advises Filipinos on New Amendments to Australian Migration Act

Apr. 12, 2007

Department of Foreign Affairs
2330 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, Philippines ▪ Tel. No. 834-4000


12 April 2007 Consul General Maria Theresa P. Lazaro of the Philippine
Consulate General in Sydney, Australia reported to the Department of Foreign
Affairs that recent amendments the Australian Government passed to its
existing Migration Act of 1958 imposing stiffer sanctions on employers who
take in overstaying foreigners or those individuals who are in breach of
visa conditions will make employment more difficult for Filipino overstayers
and tourists, as well as the Filipino-Australian employers, recruiters and
migration agents who exploit them in the guise of compassion or pakiusap.

The amendments, known as the Australian Migration Amendment (Employer
Sanction) Act of 2007, aim to impose sanctions on persons who are connected
with work by unlawful non-citizens or work in breach of visa conditions and
for related purposes. The Act is expected to be enforced by August 2007.

According to Filipino-Australian lawyer Imelda Argel, the new law aims to
further curb illegal immigration, people smuggling and labor exploitation by
cracking down on Australian employers, recruitment agencies, manpower
service firms and even migration agents who knowingly breach Australian
labor laws by employing, exploiting and/or even simply giving work referrals
to illegal immigrants.

Atty. Argel continued, By allowing or referring an illegal immigrant,
employers or persons now face a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment
and/or fines up to A$ 60,000 (US$ 55,000) for companies. When there are
aggravating circumstances such as slavery, forced labor or sexual servitude,
the employers can be punished per worker exploited with a maximum penalty of
five years imprisonment and/or fines up to A$ 165,000 (US$ 150,000) for

Consul General Lazaro urges Filipinos who wish to work in Australia to go
through proper channels of employment such as the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration and not attempt to bypass the legal process by
entering Australia as tourists with the intent to prospect for employment or
obtain some sort of immigration amnesty. END

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