Govt’s migrant worker plan an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff

Once again the Government has stopped short of making necessary changes that will end the exploitation of people who travel to Aotearoa to work.

“The Government is still allowing employers to have control over people’s lives and their ability to stay in the country. This can force people to accept unfair wages or unsafe working conditions. The only way to avoid this is to allow people to come here and make their own decisions about where they work, rather than being beholden to one employer,” says the Green Party’s immigration spokesperson, Ricardo

The Green Party has welcomed the Government’s attempts to crack down on migrant worker exploitation – but calls on Labour to go further.

“If the Government is serious about ending migrant worker exploitation then it needs to decouple work visas, so people’s livelihoods are not dependent on one employer.

“Right now, the Government’s approach continues to reduce migrants to economic units instead of people, where people have to stick with one employer to meet the needs of industries.

“This can create the conditions for exploitation – which in the worst cases can lead to modern day slavery.

“It’s good to see the Government taking some action to prevent exploitation. But without addressing the conditions that make it easy for employers to exploit migrants in the first place many of our communities will continue to suffer.

“MPs recently looked into migrant exploitation and the people who spoke with us about what is happening in our communities made clear that employer bound visas were a huge contributor to exploitation.

“People spoke to us about the feeling of powerlessness they felt when their employer had so much control over their lives and ability to stay in the country, leading to people feeling forced to accept conditions most New Zealanders would find unacceptable.

“The Government needs to stop exploitation happening in the first place, rather than putting more ambulances at the bottom of the cliff to catch exploited migrants. 

On top of decoupling work visas the Greens are calling on Labour to do the following to address exploitation:

  • Go beyond the 2021 Residents Visa to Introduce an amnesty for over stayers so thousands of people are freed from exploitative conditions because of their lack of immigration status
  • Ensure partners of migrant workers are able to continue participate in employment to prevent an increase in family violence
  • Extend the length of the Migrant Exploitation Protection Visa

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