Workers being forced back to China without a day in court
Unite Union is appealing to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway to allow six Chinese construction workers to be allowed to stay in New Zealand so they can testify in an Employment Relations Authority hearing scheduled for October and November this year.
The six workers are part of a group of 30 who are taking legal action against National Personnel Limited for failing to comply with their employment agreements during the second half of last year when dozens of workers arrived expecting full-time work and the company was unable or unwilling to provide that work.
Iain Lees-galloway had previously made a public commitment to allow these workers who were being evicted from NPL-controlled accommodation that Immigration NZ would facilitate the workers being able to change visas and employers from being dependent on NPL. (See: Move to help stranded Chinese workers with visa variation )
Galloway told TV1 News: "I do agree that where it's appropriate that variations to visas should be put in place, especially when people have come forward and made claims of exploitation or made claims that their visa conditions haven't been met," he said. (See Immigration NZ to help 23 Chinese workers left jobless and homeless in Auckland
This promise has proved to be a lie.
The only workers given new open visas are those selected to give evidence for Immigration NZ at a possible immigration fraud case.
Either the minister was being disingenuous or his department has sabotaged his genuine offer of help.
Which is it, Iain?
Unite have job offers from reputable companies in the construction industry. They have asked Immigration NZ to give visas to these workers so they are not being forced home after only one year in the country during which they had no regular work for six months. They had also paid around $50,000 each to recruitment agencies in China acting on behalf of NPL.
New Zealand as a whole owe these workers an apology and to at least be given the chance to earn back what they have lost.