Undeclared beef import leads to visa cancellation

Beef Central, 22/03/2022

customs biosecurity australia airport quarantine

AN international student carrying 1.54 kg of beef and other undeclared products has had their visa cancelled, been refused entry to Australia and received an infringement notice for the serious breach of Australia’s biosecurity laws.

The goods were mislabelled with deliberately misleading packaging, according to a statement released today by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

In addition to the beef, the student failed to delare 2kg dried prawns, 500g of dried squid, 1.54kg of dried persimmon and 4kg of dried fish.

The traveller was issued a 12-penalty unit infringement notice ($2,664 up from $444) and referred to Australian Border Force for possible visa cancellation.

The student’s visa was cancelled and entry to Australia refused. They are now excluded from applying for another visa to enter Australia for 3 years and may be required to declare the cancellation when applying for a visa to another country.

Since 1 January 2021 biosecurity officers have been able to issue 6 or 12 penalty unit infringement notices when travellers fail to declare the following goods:

o   Category 1 goods – 12 penalty units ($2,664) – live plants, whole unprocessed seeds, meat and meat products (except retorted meat), raw or partially raw prawns, live animals (and remains of animals that have died in transit), bird or reptile eggs for hatching, veterinary vaccines.

o   Category 2 goods – 6 penalty units ($1,332) – fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh fungi, fresh leaves, fresh herbs.

o   Otherwise, the infringement notice amount is 2 penalty units ($444).

  • 21,284 infringement notices in total have been issued by biosecurity officers at the airport since the commencement of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (between 16 June 2016 – 31 January 2022).
  • Australian Border Force has cancelled 15 visas on biosecurity-related grounds since 1 October 2019. Ten of the decisions relate to failure to declare pork or pork products.
  • From 1 January 2021, the biosecurity-related visa cancellation ground applies to holders of 18 visa subclasses, including visitors, international students, and temporary work visa holders.

Mr Littleproud said biosecurity remained a top priority as Australia’s borders open to international travellers.

“Beef is a high risk for diseases such as foot and mouth disease, putting at risk our $15.7 billion beef and veal industry,” he said.

“If you bring food, plant material or animal products, you must declare them or dispose of them in the bins located in the airport immediately after disembarking the aircraft.

“This is the 15th person to learn that if you don’t declare, you may receive an infringement notice of up to $2,664 and your visa may be cancelled, barring your entry into Australia.

Source: Federal Department of Agriculture. For more information about items that are a biosecurity risk and may not be permitted into Australia, visit Travelling or sending goods to Australia – DAWE



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  1. Matthew Della Gola, 22/03/2022

    Fantastic work by our border security. But can someone enlighten me on the penalty units. Is it $2600 per infringement or is that the maximum amount you can be fined in total? Either way a penalty that soft to protect a multi billion dollar industry doesnt seem scary enough to deter. Cheers Matthew Della Gola

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