Visitor visas like the Electronic Transit Authority (ETA) are mandated by law to contain a no-work condition called Condition 8115. This prohibits a holder of an ETA pass to carry out any work whilst in Australia other than what is considered “business visitor activity”.
“Business visitor activity” means work such as making a general business or employment enquiry; negotiating or reviewing a business contract; official government to government visit activities; or participation in unpaid trade conferences, seminars or fairs. In general, any work that involves supplying a service or undertaking work for an Australian business or sale of goods or services to the public is not permitted if a no-work condition such as 8115 is imposed.
Under Australian immigration law, enforcement officers at Immigration Checkpoint have the authority to search each arrival for documents. This includes your emails and messages on your phone. Any evidence of work or an intention to work in Australia can be used. If an arrival holds a visa with no work rights, he or she will have his or her visa cancelled under Section 116 of the Migration Act 1957. The consequence of this will be the passenger being held in custody until the next available flight back to their country of origin. In addition, the person will be excluded from applying for another Australian visa for a period of 3 years under Public Interest Criteria 4013. Once this ban is applied, other than in very limited compelling circumstances, it will be difficult to get a waiver.
What You Need To Do
If you are planning to visit Australia for work or business purposes, it is worthwhile applying for a visa that allows work rights. This is important as the consequences of being caught working in Australia without the authorization is severe. There have been situations where employers have sent employees to carry out some contractual obligations to a client in Australia, where the employee was caught with evidence of intention to work. The result was the employee gets the visa cancellation and a 3 year ban. The employer does not suffer any consequences, but it is the employee who will have a immigration record impacting on any future visa applications.
If you are unsure of which visa you need to apply for, or whether you need a work visa at all, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.