Four detained in worker exploitation probe

Two Malaysian and two Chinese nationals have been detained in Australia as part of an operation targeting foreign worker exploitation.

An operation targeting foreign worker exploitation and unscrupulous labour hire intermediaries has led to two Malaysian and two Chinese nationals being detained.

Australian Border Force officers executed warrants in the Perth suburb of Yokine and the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora on Wednesday morning as part of Operation Battenrun.

One detained Malaysian man in Perth, who has been living in Australia illegally since 2009, is suspected of high-level worker exploitation in agriculture and hospitality.

The other Malaysian man, who has been an unlawful non-citizen since 2012, was working illegally in construction.

One Chinese national in Melbourne held a visa with a no-work condition and the other had been living illegally in Australia since last year.

Last week, eight people were detained in Adelaide and the NSW town of Euston.

ABF acting commander of field operations Neil Horne said illegal workers were extremely vulnerable, and often underpaid and poorly treated.

"Those facilitating their employment are making significant profits at their expense, and also disadvantage local businesses who do the right thing by paying and treating their workers properly," he said on Thursday.

"We have identified examples of labour hire syndicates linked to criminal groups that are involved in traditional organised crime activity including drug importations, tobacco smuggling, money laundering and serious tax crimes including evasion."

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