The Australian Border Force (ABF) protects the Australian community by effectively managing those who do not comply with Australia's immigration laws.

The ABF actively encourages a high level of voluntary compliance from both individuals and organisations.

The ABF conducts operations around the country, targeting unlawful non-citizens, companies employing non-citizens who do not have work rights and those engaged in exploitation of non-citizen workers.

Visa holders

All non-citizens must hold a valid visa to enter and remain in Australia.

Visa holders must comply with their visa conditions and be aware of the date that their visa ends. They are expected to either leave Australia or make a new visa application before their visa ends so they remain lawful. If a person's visa ends while they are still in Australia, they will become an unlawful non-citizen.

The ABF uses intelligence and field operations activities to locate people who have breached their visa conditions. Unlawful non-citizens who pose a risk to the Australian community or are involved in organised and criminal exploitation of Australia's visa program are given the highest priority.

If you are an unlawful non-citizen, you may be detained and removed from Australia.

Unlawful non-citizens should contact the Department straight away. The Department will work with people who voluntarily approach us to resolve their immigration status.

Where possible, the Department will help facilitate the return of non-citizens to their country of origin by allowing them to stay in the community while they arrange their departure from Australia. If you do not voluntarily make arrangements to leave Australia as soon as possible, you risk being detained and removed by the ABF.

Employing foreign nationals

All workers in Australia have rights and protections at work, regardless of citizenship or visa status. All employers must comply with Australian workplace and immigration laws, including the right to minimum pay rates and a safe workplace.

The ABF seeks to educate employers about their responsibilities and obligations in employing foreign nationals. These include checking the visa status of foreign nationals to ensure they have the right to work legally in Australia, and to be aware of any work related conditions imposed on their visas. It is important to note not all visas allow people to work. The ABF also conduct regular monitoring with employers to ensure they uphold their obligations.

Preventing the exploitation of Australia's visa program is a priority for the ABF and, as such, continued focus will be placed on Taskforce Cadena investigations into the criminals responsible for organising visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign workers.

Detention facilities in Australia

Unlawful non-citizens may be sent to an immigration detention facility while they wait for their immigration status to be resolved.

We manage immigration detention facilities in Australia including:

  • immigration detention centres
  • immigration transit accommodation
  • alternative place of detention

We are responsible for the care of detainees while they are in immigration detention.