A Darwin-based hospitality business was imposed the largest ever civil penalty under the Migration Act for breaching the sponsorship obligations for a subclass 457 visa programme.

“It is the first time the department has pursued a civil penalty and is the largest civil penalty any court in the country has imposed on a sponsor who has breached their obligations,” Assistant Minister Michaelia Cash, said.

The hospitality business was found guilty of 26 counts of breaching the Migration Act and was fined $175,400 and ordered to reimburse four workers with $6400 for migration agent costs.


The court found that Choony Enterprises had paid some 457 visa holders as little as $12 an hour.

They had knowingly misled the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) by producing false pay records and illegally recovered the costs of migration agent fees from four visa holders.

“The stiff penalty this company has received should send a warning to other sponsors: if you fail to meet your requirements, my Department may impose administrative sanctions, issue an infringement notice, execute an enforceable undertaking, or apply to the federal court for a civil penalty order,” Senator Cash said.

Originally posted as ‘Darwin business fined $175,000 for exploiting and underpaying foreign workers on 457 visas’.

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