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Work visa problems need monitoring

Darien Fenton
Associate Immigration Spokesperson

17 April 2014

Work visa problems need monitoring

The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson.

“In the past 12 months, temporary visas have been granted to overseas workers to work as fork lift drivers, builder’s and other labourers, clerical and admin workers, painters and truck drivers - jobs that could have gone to out-of-work Kiwi workers with a little training.

“At a time when reports of migrant worker abuse in the Christchurch rebuild are increasing, there has been no completion of any prosecutions under either labour laws or the Immigration Act in the last year.

“Neither Immigration nor the labour arm of MBIE record the number of complaints or investigations of workers on temporary visas, thus making it impossible to know the size of the problem.

“What’s bizarre is they don’t seem to talk to each other or share information.

“The Ministers of Labour and Immigration can’t tell us whether employers who were approved to bring in overseas workers to fill these relatively low skilled positions are among those who have failed to pay their workers, put their health and safety at risk and left them vulnerable.

“The Government cannot claim to be both promoting Kiwi jobs and protecting migrant workers when they are approving migrants in low skill jobs, not prosecuting breaches, nor collecting the data.”

ENDS

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