Decoupling work visas key to ending migrant exploitation

The Greens welcome the Productivity Commission’s report into our immigration settings, reiterating the need to decouple work visas from single employers.

“We welcome people into our communities who want to make Aotearoa home, bringing their experiences, skills, and perspectives, but tying their visas to specific employers limits the choices migrants have and opens up opportunities for exploitation,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, Green spokesperson for immigration.

“We call on Labour to listen to the many voices urging for an end to visas that bind people to specific employers.

“Improving the working conditions of migrant workers benefits everyone. Employer-bound visas create a perverse power dynamic where employers know they can get away with low wages and exploitative conditions due to their workers relying on them to remain in the country.

“While we welcome the recent Migrant Worker Exploitation Protection Visa, the Government needs to address the policy settings that enable migrants to be exploited in the first place, rather than only addressing it once it has happened.

“The Productivity Commission’s report follows submissions from migrants on the inquiry into migrant exploitation, urging changes to visa settings so that workers are better supported.

“We also welcome the Productivity Commission’s call for Governments to issue policy statements to set the direction of immigration settings. Governments have gotten away with entrenching discrimination in our immigration policies under the guise of wanting to attract ‘high-skilled’ migrants.

“A clear policy statement will create realistic expectations and entrench the sort of values of collective wellbeing we want our immigration system to be underpinned by.”

ENDS

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