In 2016, New Zealand’s first conviction for people trafficking took place. An employer was found guilty of 15 charges of people trafficking and 16 charges of helping people get illegally into New Zealand or stay here. The charges related to Fijians working in Farms in the BOP between 2013 and 2015.
From 1 April 2017, employers that have incurred a penalty for a breach of employment standards will face a set stand-down period preventing them from recruiting migrant labour for six months, one year, 18 months or two years, depending on the severity of the breach.
The employer was actually jailed for nine years and six months. Why such harsh penalties you ask? These migrants were working up to 18 hour shifts without a break and being paid as low as $4 per hour.
The new policy has been put in place to deter employers from considering using illegal options to exploit migrants and is meant to be a preventative policy rather than to prosecute people. The government is so serious about this that they have increased their labour inspectors five to ten fold.
What many NZ employers do not realise is that migrants employed in NZ are employed under the exact same legislation as you and I. There is no getting around it legally and I am glad that it is fair and reasonable otherwise migrants would be taken advantage of and NZ would get a bad name!
The team at RecruitNZ have set up processes, documentation and partnerships to ensure that every step of the way we are 100% compliant, our clients are and the migrants know that they are protected and we know that we are acting legally, ethically and can go to sleep at night without the fear of NZ Immigration knocking on our door.
We work closely with Cameron Gray at VisaAide who is a licensed NZ Immigration Advisor, we lodge all vacancies through a POEA agency in the Philippines, we follow a step by step process to ensure every employer and migrant follow the correct process and we hold out clients’ hands through to entire process. Everything we do is 100% transparent!
So, don’t be put off employing migrants, they are amazing employees, but just please do be aware that the old way of doing things is no longer acceptable and in breach of New Zealand law.
For more information about this process, please contact Melissa who is our International Recruitment Division Manager.