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Migrant worker abuse unlikely to be kept in check

Darien FENTON

Immigration Spokesperson                        
 
23June  2013
                                                        
MEDIA STATEMENT
 
Migrant worker abuse unlikely to be kept in check

Actions announced by the Minister of Immigration to crack down on companies who exploit migrant workers are welcome but will require more than the meagre inspectorate resources currently available, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton says.

"Currently there are only 35 labour inspectors to cover the entire country and just one dedicated immigration officer in Auckland.

"The much publicised prosecution of an Indian restaurant chain in the past two weeks didn't come about because of active inspection by MOBIE, but because of complaints, including some I took directly to Simon Bridges, the Minister of Labour.

"Changing the law and increasing penalties will certainly send a message to bad employers. Unfortunately crimes against vulnerable migrant workers will continue without sufficient inspection and enforcement.

"Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse told the Select Committee that he expects Immigration NZ to do more with less. That sends another, and contradictory, message; that the Government isn't really serious about tackling this growing problem.

"The irony of all of this is that there will be fewer rights – for all Zealanders – being enforced if the Government's latest plans to slash workers’ rights get the green light.”

ENDS

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