Just as businesses are preparing for 457 visas to be removed from next month, a company has been found guilty of signing migrant workers up to a residency program with jobs that did not exist.
In 2016, the Federal Court slammed cleaning business Clinica and its director Radovan Laski for fleecing 90 migrants of over $760,000.
Under Mr Laski’s direction, Clinica offered to train and sponsor 90 migrant workers between 2012 and 2013, and claimed that by signing up to their program, the migrants would eventually be eligible for permanent residency.
In reality, though, Clinica had “few, if any” jobs actually available. And even if the jobs did exist, they did not meet permanent residency requirements.
At the time, the court found both the company and Mr Laski knew this to be the case, but knowingly fleeced the workers, many of whom paid as much as $10,000-plus to join the residency program. The unconscionable conduct resulted in fines of $1.025 million and a five-year disqualification for Mr Laski in managing companies.
However, in a new court hearing on 12 February this year, two companies associated with Clinica – Letore and Swishette, which were operated by Mr Laski at the time of the bogus residency program – were found to have knowingly concerned in Clinica’s conduct.
Given this new finding of guilt, Letore has been ordered to pay compensation to the victims, with the ACCC attempting to contact all of the victims to manage the process.
“We welcome the court’s ruling to compensate the vulnerable people targeted by Mr Laski through this program,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
According to the ACCC, it is not the first time Mr Laski has run afoul of the law. Back in 2002, he was found to have engaged in deceptive conduct in relation to the sale of orange juice machines.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.