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Problems for temporary migrant workers

22 June 2006

Problems for Tauranga Police translate into even bigger problem for temporary migrant workers

The Council of Trade Unions says that the problems faced by Tauranga Police through a lack of a translator is just one example of the need for better support systems for temporary migrant workers in New Zealand.

Police in Tauranga said this morning that the lack of a translator wasted significant Police time during an investigation involving Indonesian migrant workers earlier this month.

"Police investigations are at one end of the line. But who is ensuring temporary migrants, some of whom may have little or no English language, are aware of their rights before they start work or that they are getting paid what they expected?," said Carol Beaumont, CTU Secretary. "Employers, labour contractors and the New Zealand immigration system in general has a responsibility to the workers that are coming into the country."

"The case also highlights the fear and sense of insecurity that even legitimate temporary migrants have about their immigration status."

"Migrant workers are often worried that any trouble could see them lose their job. And losing their job means they lose their right to stay."

"The system needs to show migrant workers that it is safe to speak up," said Carol Beaumont. "As the number of temporary migrant workers in New Zealand grows these type of incidents will continue unless temporary migrants can trust that their rights will be respected."

"Unions are working with industry to addresses these issues, and we look forward to some positive outcomes for temporary migrant workers."


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