The NZ Government has announced that Immigration NZ will be receiving an extra $34 million towards their operations budget over the next 4 years. This is a positive move towards keeping New Zealand’s reputation of being the least corrupt country in the world.
Dangers of exploitation
New Zealand’s skill shortages have led to increasing migrant numbers to fill positions. The danger with this is that there are tendencies towards migrants being exploited. To combat this, controls must be in place.
Migrants are vulnerable, looking for opportunities to help them stay in New Zealand. This means they can be enticed into unlawful employment or encouraged by some offshore education advisers into paying high international study fees with the expectation that they are on the path for a permanent stay in NZ. While trying to meet requirements, migrants may also not provide lawful information and evidence.
This additional money from the Government will enable Immigration NZ to employ an additional 29 staff, increase screening and assessment of air passengers and help identify exploitation risks early. With extra staff, employers will be looked at carefully, ensuring exploitation of their migrant workforce is not happening.
Exploitation takes many forms but in the case of employment this does include:
- Underpayment of wages/salary.
- Failing to meet guaranteed minimum entitlements.
- Employment agreements not being complied with.
- Checking legal deductions from salaries/wages are in accordance with NZ employment laws.
International students looking for work
As a visa consultant, I say this to International students graduating; you will be under the spotlight also. Do be careful and ensure that a job offered is genuine and not purchased. Ensure that you have not been enticed into paying your wages back to the employer, to gain temporary work visas, this is exploitation! Immigration NZ have extra resources, and unlawful practices will be identified.
NZ needs genuine experienced and qualified migrants. Just ensure that you are offering or being offered the right pay rate based on your skills and qualifications. Immigration NZ have made changes to their policies, ensuring the right people receive correct pay and conditions. The process can be challenging, but with the current skill shortages the right migrant, with skills and qualifications can succeed, it is worth pursuing.