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‘Unskilled migrant’ changes bound to keep work insecure

The Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign has come out against proposed changes to the rights of ‘lower-skilled’ migrants. The group says that setting a maximum duration of three years for ‘lower skilled’ work, and further shaping seasonal work around peak labour demand, will exacerbate the insecurity of migrant workers’ conditions.

"Although the changes are fairly superficial, they are taking things in the opposite direction from where we need to go," says Gayaal Iddamalgoda, Wellington Central candidate and spokesperson for the campaign.

“By exacerbating the insecurity of so-called ‘lower-skilled’ migrant workers, these changes will enable further abuse by employers."

“Fruit pickers, care workers, and other migrant workers perform essential services, and should be justly remunerated with secure contracts.”

“Migrant workers are already illegally underpaid under the Regional Seasonal Employer scheme, and these changes will only exacerbate this problem. Increased security of work would mean that migrant workers are more confident to raise concerns, and reverse the race to the bottom.”

“These changes will only allow employers to drive down wages and conditions, making the existing problem worse.”

The Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign has called a May Day March for migrant and refugee rights in Wellington. The event will begin with speeches on Cuba St, midday on Monday the 1st, before marching on Immigration New Zealand to deliver a written statement. Groups participating in the march include Changemakers Refugee Forum, the Public Service Association (PSA), the International Socialist Organisation, Peace Action Wellington, Fightback and Doing Our Bit – Double the Refugee Quota.

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