On 1 July 2015, the functions of DIBP and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service were integrated into a new front-line operational agency – Australian Border Force (ABF). Bringing together existing operational, investigative, compliance, detention and enforcement functions, the ABF sends a clear message of a more operationally and compliance focused organisation.
These changes come on the back of enhanced compliance-related measures seen in recent years, including:
In this context, DIBP figures confirm an increase in employer sanctions from 217 in the 2012-2013 program year, to 365 in the 2013-2014 program year.
In an increasingly compliance-focused climate, immigration professionals will need to think beyond the visa application process and work with companies to ensure they have internal controls in place to manage these increased compliance obligations. KPMG’s Immigration Practice has developed a robust risk review framework to assist companies manage their immigration compliance obligations as well as assist with any direct audit activities conducted by DIBP or the Fair Work Ombudsman.
There is however some positive news from DIBP. Companies who are compliant and recognised to be ‘low risk’, should receive faster processing of their visa applications and face a lower administrative burden, which can in turn save on time and cost.
Any business employing foreign nationals are potentially at increased risk. Now is the time for these businesses to review their internal immigration controls to stand up to this increased scrutiny, while at the same time taking advantage of more streamlined visa processes.