The Government is ordering an in-depth research on temporary migrant worker exploitation in NZ to be undertaken by Auckland UniServices and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

This was announced by Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway while speaking to today’s Biennial Conference for First Union.

An announcement for Work Passport for Migrant Workers guide was also made in this biennial Conference.

The Government’s efforts to stamp out the exploitation of migrant workers will be guided by wide-ranging research beginning today, said Mr Lees-Galloway.

“The Government is determined to build a fair and inclusive modern economy fit for the 21st century, and nowhere in that vision is a place for the exploitation of migrant workers.

"While migrants bring the skills we need to grow our economy, many migrant workers, especially those on temporary and student visas, are particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

“Migrant exploitation takes many forms, including workers not getting paid properly, working excessive hours or in unsafe conditions. Crucially, far too many migrant workers do not feel empowered to speak up or seek help when they are being subjected to unfair conditions.

Key Features of Research

  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to undertake in-depth research on temporary migrant worker exploitation in New Zealand.
  • Auckland UniServices will work with MBIE on this important work.
  • Researchers will envisage to hear from migrant and international student groups, unions and businesses.
  • The Government will engage with representatives of migrants, businesses, workers, academics and international students to provide independent perspectives and to test ideas.
  • The research is a thorough review and will lead to government’s decision making in 2019.  
  • This initiative is separate from the already increase in the numbers of Labour Inspectors through Budget 2018.
  • The research on the exploitation of temporary workers is the third major announcement of the sixth Labour government apart from recent changes to post-study work rights and an increase in the total number of labour inspectorates. 

Anyone who believes that are being exploited in the workplace should contact MBIE’s Immigration New Zealand on 0508 558 855 or the Labour Inspectorate on 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment. People can also contact CrimeStoppers anonymously.