The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has begun an in-depth policy and operational review on temporary migrant worker exploitation in New Zealand.
As part of the review MBIE and Auckland UniServices will commission wide-ranging research on the nature of temporary migrant worker exploitation, and the gaps and opportunities to address this.
The research will be conducted through a third party, to provide an independent and confidential space to hear the experiences of migrant and international student groups, and to hear from unions and businesses.
A consultation group will also be established to represent migrants, business, union and international students. This group will provide perspectives and be used to test ideas as recommendations are developed.
Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the review is part of the government’s efforts to stamp out the exploitation of migrant workers.
“The government is determined to build a fair and inclusive modern economy fit for the 21st century, and nowhere in that vision is a place for the exploitation of migrant workers.
“While migrants bring the skills we need to grow our economy, many migrant workers, especially those on temporary and student visas, are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
“Migrant exploitation takes many forms, including workers not getting paid properly, working excessive hours or in unsafe conditions. Crucially, far too many migrant workers do not feel empowered to speak up or seek help when they are being subjected to unfair conditions.
Lees-Galloway said following the review’s findings he expects to make decisions on the recommendations in 2019.
Other initiatives underway by the government include the increase in the numbers of Labour Inspectors through Budget 2018 and recently-announced changes to post-study work rights that will help reduce the risk of international student exploitation.