New Zealand introducing changes to protect temporary migrant workers

/ / News, Working in New Zealand

New Zealand is a dream immigration destination for many people looking for a better life. Unfortunately, some migrants go there and then find themselves working for a boss who exploits them.

These employers are in the minority, but the New Zealand Government has had enough. The Government has now committed to spending NZ$50 million over the next four years to introduce changes that’ll reduce the risk of exploitation in the workplace.

Changes implemented will prevent worker exploitation, protect temporary migrant workers and deter employer non-compliance

Temporary New Zealand work visas are tied to specific employers. This makes it near impossible for migrants to leave exploitative situations.

To enable migrants to leave these situations without negatively affecting their immigration status, the Government has undertaken to create a new temporary work visa for this purpose.

The Government will also set up a free telephone number and reporting services to receive and handle complaints about exploitative work situations. This will ensure that there is a dedicate focus on dealing with complaints. It will also help build a better understanding of the nature and scale of the problem.

In tandem with these change, the Government will set higher standards for franchises, labour hire companies and similar businesses where migrant exploitation often occurs.

Further to this, the Government wants to:

  • Disqualify employers convicted of migrant exploitation from managing or directing a company
  • Prevent exploitative employers from accessing migrant labour in the future
  • Establish new immigration and employment infringement offences targeting non-compliant employer behavior

Government will launch an awareness campaign to support the changes

Protecting migrant workers will also require that temporary workers know their rights and that employers are aware of their obligations.

To achieve both of these goals, the Government will launch an awareness campaign to educate both migrant workers and employers on labour matters.

At the same time, the Government will also make the general public aware of migrant exploitation. This, we suspect, to empower the public to assist in the fight against workers being taken advantage of by employers.

Employment rights continued to be enforced in the meantime

While the Government is implementing these changes, the relevant labour departments will continue to enforce and monitor existing employment rights in workplaces across New Zealand. This includes rights like minimum wages and leave entitlements.

In summary…

The New Zealand Government has decided to crack down on exploitative employers. The goal is to create better work environments for temporary migrant workers.

In order to achieve this goal, a number of changes will be implemented over the next four years. These changes aim to protect migrant workers while holding New Zealand employers accountable for their actions.

If you’d like to stay up to date with these changes, sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn where we’ll post the relevant news as it happens.

 

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