Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


New measures to combat migrant exploitation

Hon Michael Woodhouse

Minister of Immigration

23 June 2013       

Media Statement

New measures to combat migrant exploitation
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has announced measures to combat the exploitation of migrant workers, and make it clear that unlawful and exploitative behaviour will not be tolerated in New Zealand.
“By breaking the law, unscrupulous employers not only harm their staff but they also gain an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors.
“New proposals will see exploitative employers face lengthy prison time, hefty fines, and in some cases deportation back to their country of origin. Changes have also been made to encourage victims of exploitation to come forward.
“I plan to amend the Immigration Act to make it a specific offence to exploit migrants who hold temporary work visas.  The proposed penalty will reflect the seriousness of the offence – imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine not exceeding $100,000, or both.
“Unlawful migrants are already protected by the Act in this way, and it is only right that lawful migrants have the same protections,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“I also propose to make exploitative employers with residence visas liable for deportation if the offence was committed within 10 years of gaining residence. We are seeing an increasing number of cases where the crooked employer is themself a migrant, taking advantage of vulnerable people from their own community.
“Changing the law to make such employers liable for deportation sends a strong message that the government will not tolerate such behaviour.”
Mr Woodhouse says that the legislative changes are likely to be introduced by August, and are in addition to a number of other steps being taken by the government to address the issue of migrant exploitation.
“Last week I signed off on an immigration policy change to encourage victims of exploitation to come forward so that action can be taken. There are currently few incentives for migrants to report exploitative practices by employers – particularly when the worker is in breach of their visa conditions, or is unlawful. 
“The new policy means that in cases of serious workplace exploitation, migrants who come forward will be allowed to remain in New Zealand while they apply for a new visa. This will also help us better understand the true extent of migrant exploitation in New Zealand.
“I am also working closely with the Minister of Labour, Simon Bridges, to ensure cross-agency collaboration on this important issue.  He is looking at operational and legislative mechanisms to improve enforcement of minimum employment standards, including proportionate and severe sanctions for serious breaches.”
“Ministers have made it clear to agencies that we expect a whole-of-government response to combating migrant exploitation, and MBIE’s Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand are undertaking joint enforcement actions targeting the fishing, hospitality, horticulture and viticulture industries.
“The decision last year to require the reflagging of foreign-owned fishing vessels clearly demonstrated that putting a stop to illegal exploitation is a priority for the Government. These new immigration changes are another important step towards achieving that goal.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


What Was The Package? Police Not Explaining Lambton Quay Emergency

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>

Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Q+A Transcript: Groser ‘Not Expecting’ Failure At UN Climate Talks

‘I will be very surprised if we don’t get an agreement. I think it’s a completely different situation to Copenhagen for a number of reasons. We’ve got a much more realistic negotiating proposal on the table. Secondly, I think the science has strengthened...’ More>>


Greenpeace Protest:

Climate Talks, Immigration And Housing: PM's Post Cabinet Press Conference

Prime Minister John Key began by talking about his recent attendance at the APEC and ASEAN summits. He segued neatly from the opportunities available in Vietnam to outlining his upcoming itinerary which includes Malta, Paris and Berlin. More>>


After Urgent Law Change: Beneficiaries Urged To Act Immediately

I am hoping that thousands more people will be enabled to lodge their review... people without internet, who don't even realise that this has been happening. If just a fraction of the people on facebook can help others to put in reviews tomorrow it could improve so many more peoples Christmas. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news