Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Reducing the exploitation of migrant workers

Temporary work visa proposals could go a long way to reducing the exploitation of migrant workers and to protecting the working rights of everyday working people

The Government has announced consultation for new changes to temporary work visas for migrants today that seek to better match skills to specific needs for different industries and regions while protecting the rights of everyday working people.

The changes

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says the proposed changes affect several visas. All employer assisted temporary work visas will see a reduction in application pathways and accreditations take place. The Essential Skills in Demand Lists will be replaced with Regional Skills Shortage Lists to better signal skill shortages in the regions. Sector agreements will be introduced to address longer-term job demand issues so jobs are better matched with New Zealanders rather than industries becoming reliant on exploiting migrant workers to stay competitive. This will take a concerted effort that includes immigration, welfare, and education systems. Exactly how this will look will be decided on through the consultation process.

Due to New Zealand’s recent embarrassing history of the exploitation of migrant workers, and a second human trafficking case emerging, the changes are being welcomed by FIRST Union General Secretary Dennis Maga.

“With the horrific stories we hear of migrant exploitation through workers seeking solace within our union, and the work that our affiliate organisation, UNEMIG tirelessly does to correct some basic human rights, we are relieved to see a more of an orchestrated effort to better place workers, New Zealand and migrants, into where they are needed while also better protecting their work and personal lives.”



Mr Maga says the accreditation, especially of labour-hire companies will go far to address some of the largest areas of exploitation.

“The new framework includes more planning for the future while better addressing the current situation, which isn’t pretty. The cases in the media are just the ones we have been able to go public with, there are many, many more who are far too scared to speak out. This will go further to protecting these workers in the first place from unethical companies that seek to heavily control the lives of others to increase profits.”


He says the sector agreements could raise the bar for training, recruitment, and employment in industries that are experiencing labour and skills shortages.

“We know the reliance on the exploitation of migrant workers has driven down wages and education for all while further disenfranchising those coming here to seek a better life for themselves and their families. To continue to exploit migrants won’t fix the genuine skills shortages that have been created by the reliance on exploited migrants. We have a lot of knowledge in this area that we look forward to sharing during the consultation process.”

Mr Maga says the move reaches towards a better global effort on assisting migrant workers.

“We also wholly support the move for New Zealand to align itself with the United Nations Global Migrant Compact, a global effort to share information and resources better ensures migrants are where they are needed the most.”

He adds any businesses concerned about the visa changes need to look to the future.

“While the changes may require more investment in the beginning, it will also create a lot more future certainty both for workers and employers.”


These proposals will impact the following six temporary work visa categories:

· Essential Skills including the Essential Skills in Demand Lists (ESID)

· Approval-in-Principle

· Talent (Accredited Employer)

· Work to Residence – Long-term Skill Shortage List occupation

· Silver Fern (Practical Experience)

· Silver Fern (Job Search)

Definitions:

Employer-assisted temporary work visas are generally those in which an employer can demonstrate through labour market tests that there are no suitable New Zealanders available to do the work. Around 20 per cent (or 47,000) of the 230,000 temporary work visas issued in 2017/18 were employer-assisted (the rest were issued for a range of reasons including to working holiday makers and family members of New Zealanders and recent migrants).

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Gordon Campbell: On Being Australia's Pacific Go-Fers

Inevitably, there was an aspect of ‘what might have been’ about the weekend’s meeting in Canberra between PM Jacinda Ardern and her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison. If not for the surprise election result, Ardern would almost certainly ... More>>

 

RNZ: Trades Hall Bombing Case Re-Opened, Evidence Released

The cold case has been reopened and the police have recently revealed more details about the bomb's components - including that it was wrapped in a 1977 edition of The Evening Post. More>>

Safety: Govt Targets Fewer Deaths On The Road

“Most roads deaths and serious injuries are preventable and too many New Zealanders have lost their lives or been seriously injured in crashes that could have been prevented by road safety upgrades,” said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Rise Delay: Teachers Unions Plan Legal Action Against Novopay

Both of the teachers unions - NZEI and the PPTA - have confirmed they will be taking legal action against Novopay. More>>

ALSO:

Emission Statement: 'Consensus Reached' On Agriculture

Today the Government launched a consultation document, informed by the work of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC), on how to bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme, a key part of the Government’s plan to tackle climate change and reduce New Zealand’s emissions. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On What’s Wrong With Wellington

For many Wellingtonians, it hasn’t been the normal hardships – the workings of central government and the lousy weather – that have recently pushed their tolerance into the red zone. It has been the inability of local government to maintain even the basics. More>>

ALSO:

$1m Compensation Paid: First Gun Ban Event In Christchurch

The Police Minister says the first ever firearms collection event in Christchurch over the weekend was a huge success. But Stuart Nash had concerns about whether the participation reflected the number of weapons in the region. More>>

ALSO:

The Kids: Youth Parliament 2019 Event Kicks Off

120 Youth MPs and 20 Youth Press Gallery members have gathered in Wellington to attend the two-day Youth Parliament event ... More>>

ALSO:

Friends Like These: Foreign Minister To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. today for talks with senior members of the US Administration, and to attend the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Aussie Banks’ Latest Fee Hike Excuse

When the Reserve Bank sought feedback on its plans to require the country’s major banks to raise their capital reserves then you might have expected the banks to whine and complain. And so they have. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels