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


Changes to migrant visas good but need to cover other visas

For immediate release 26/11/18

Changes to migrant visas good but need to cover other visas too – migrant networks and unions

New Immigration changes for international students have come into effect from today (November 26th). One of major changes is that migrant workers who are currently holding an employer assisted visa (a visa which binds the workers to a particular employer and to a particular location of work) will be able to apply for an open work visa. This gives workers the option of changing employers, should they find themselves exploited, and means employers have less power to threaten staff into accepting work that breaks employment law. However the essential skills visa, aimed at increasing the skills needed in New Zealand’s workforce, remains locked in to one employer. This means it is very difficult for a worker, whose skills are in high demand, to look elsewhere if the employer is treating them unlawfully.

Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG, a FIRST Union affiliate organisation) and Indian Workers Association (IWA) organiser Mandeep Bela says it’s a step in the right direction to restoring an imbalance of power for workers on the employer assisted visa.

“Locking-in a migrant worker to one company is essentially enforcing bonded labour. Now, at least migrant workers on the employer assisted visa will be able to exercise their right to move jobs if they are not treated well or are being exploited, just like any other New Zealander would be able to do. It is what we’ve been asking for, especially to help newly graduated students, and the Government has responded so for that we are thankful.

But Mr Bela says if the Government really wants to stamp out the exploitation of migrant workers, the move must also include those on the essential skills visas, but in a different way.

“We urge the Government to apply similar regulations on the essential skills visa. Here, workers should be able to apply for a visa for their specific skills in a particular industry (such as construction, transport or hospitality) rather than be locked to a specific employer. This would ensure their skills are where they are needed the most, and the skills we most desperately need are paid for at a true market rate. This would also make it more difficult for these employers to act unlawfully because the employee could just leave and go work somewhere else. Other working people would also benefit as migrant workers will not be able to be brought in at a cheaper rate to undercut other workers, migrants will not be able to be used to drive down wages.”

A survey of essential skill visa holders undertaken by the IWA showed more than 65% are claiming to have been exploited due their visa being attached to a particular employer and to a particular location.

He says New Zealand’s track-record with migrant workers is embarrassing.

In audits done in the past we’ve seen some horrifying levels of exploitation. Our survey shows this is what migrant workers desperately need. This new legislation needs to go that bit further to ensure we put an end to these inhumane practices.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On How America’s Middle East Allies Are Poisoning The Ground Joe Biden Will Inherit

As even the US mainstream media has been reporting, the prime motive for the murder of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (by Israeli or Saudi operatives, or both) has been to poison the situation that the next US president will inherit. At best, there was only an outside chance that the incoming Biden administration and the outgoing liberal regime of Iranian PM Hassan Rouhani could have revived the Iran anti-nuclear deal that Rouhani had negotiated in 2015 with Barack Obama. Deliberately though, America’s allies have now made it impossible for Biden to pursue that option... More>>


WorkSafe: 13 Parties Charged Over Whakaari/White Island Tragedy

WorkSafe New Zealand today filed charges against 13 parties in relation to the Whakaari/White Island eruption in December last year. “22 people have lost their lives in this tragic event. WorkSafe is tasked with investigating workplace incidents to determine ... More>>


Pay Gap: Progress On Pay Equity For DHB Staff

Today’s initial agreement between DHBs and the PSA on pay equity for clerical and administration staff is an important step toward better, fairer pay for this crucial and largely female workforce, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>


New Zealand Government: Speech From The Throne

It is my privilege to exercise the prerogative of Her Majesty the Queen and open the 53rd Parliament.
In the October election, New Zealanders elected a majority Government for the first time under our Mixed Member Proportional electoral system... More>>

Media: Stuff Holds Itself Accountable For Wrongs To Māori

Stuff has today published the results of an investigation into itself, and issued a public apology, for the way the media organisation has portrayed Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, from its first editions to now. Tā Mātou Pono | More>>


New Zealand Government: To Declare A Climate Emergency

The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today. “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every aspect of our lives and the type of planet our children will inherit ... More>>


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels