Migrant workers and representatives from Migrante Aotearoa, FIRST Union and UNEMIG (Union Network for Migrants) have welcomed the outcome of the Government’s Temporary migrant worker exploitation review, stating that the changes to take place over the coming years will provide important protections for vulnerable workers around New Zealand.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s review aims to address conditions of labour that enable the exploitation of migrant workers, protect workers who need to leave positions of employment, and enforce relevant laws to deter employer non-compliance via a penalty system.
Dennis Maga, General Secretary of FIRST Union, was invited to represent the union movement during the review. He believes that the changes will benefit all workers, including non-migrants.
"Around half of the recommendations that workers put to the Government have been adopted, which shows that they were listening carefully to the experiences of migrant workers and realising the scale of the problem," said Mr Maga.
"The changes will mean workers will be protected in situations where they need to raise a personal grievance with an exploitative employer, and the process and points of contact for reporting abuse and exploitation are much clearer and more streamlined following the review."
"There is more work to be done, however - we will continue to campaign for the criminalisation of wage theft more broadly as has recently been enacted in Victoria, which has provided important protections for all workers."
"For now, this is an important step in the right direction, and the workers I’ve spoken to are feeling heard and understood by their Government.’