Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone says new laws are being considered to fine employers of people without work visas.
Senator Vanstone says she understands that labour can be hard to find during periods of high demand such as harvesting, but employers need to ensure that workers have the proper work rights.
She says the laws would target businesses that recklessly and knowingly employ people who cannot work in Australia.
“Now obviously someone who’s not known and not been reckless, first time they’re going to get a warning,” she said.
“But we have restaurants, for example, that are repeat offenders and they know what they’re doing.
“I think all Australians want us to give Aussies the job first.”
Senator Vanstone is encouraging regional employers to check visas ahead of harvest operations.
She says while the harvest is the top priority, regional operators need to ensure their employees have the proper clearances.
Senator Vanstone says Parliament is considering laws that could impose a $66,000 fine on companies that employ people without proper papers.
“It’s not at the moment a criminal offence but we plan to make it one, to knowingly or recklessly hire people who don’t have a right to work,” she said.
“It will particularly apply to labour supply companies that refer people for work.”