The Humans Rights Commission has today welcomed the Government’s introduction of migrant worker recruitment stand-down periods for employers who breach immigration and employment law.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says the measures are welcomed by the Commission and hopes that this is only the start of actions taken to address migrant labour exploitation in New Zealand.
“Last year, New Zealand saw its first human trafficking conviction and the release of a report that highlighted an urgent need for systems that better monitor and address worker exploitation and protect our migrant workers. We are not immune to human rights abuses,” Dr Blue says.
“Penalising those employers who show disregard for our employment and immigration laws is a positive first step towards addressing migrant labour exploitation in New Zealand. It sends a strong message that their actions are not acceptable.
“Migrant exploitation is a multi-faceted and complex issue that requires a multifaceted and coordinated response.
“We are keen to see that these new measures are just the start of actions aimed at addressing what is a significant problem – particularly in our dairy, horticultural, hospitality and international education industries.
Last year, the Commission identified migrant exploitation as one of the five most serious human rights issues for businesses operating in New Zealand.
“It Is imperative that the human rights of migrants who assist our economy and development are upheld and respected,” Dr Blue says.
To access the report on worker exploitation published in December 2016, visit: https://www.workerexploitation.co.nz/report