Greens secure greater protections for exploited migrant workers

The Green Party is pleased that the Government has adopted an amendment that would guarantee migrants are not adversely affected when holding exploitative employers to account.

“Migrant exploitation is rife in Aotearoa, and unfortunately many migrants who face exploitation end up in breach of their visa conditions putting them at risk of deportation. Migrants should have the confidence that any moves to hold exploitative employers to account should not end up causing harm to the victims of exploitation,” says Green Party immigration spokesperson Ricardo Menéndez March.

“The Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill as it was introduced did not adequately guarantee that the information collected as part of the process of investigating employers would not adversely affect workers. 

“I raised this when the Bill was introduced, and several submitters raised it at the Select Committee stage as a risk to the efficacy of the Government clamping down on exploitative employers.

“We welcome the Government listening to our feedback and taking on board our SOP to better protect migrant workers. The amendments to the bill will also support whistle-blowers reporting exploitation in their workplaces knowing their visa status won’t be affected.

“Today’s win adds to the successful track record the Greens have on advocating for progressive immigration reform: from addressing discrimination against HIV positive migrants, changing Labour’s position on exploring an amnesty for overstayers, securing the one-off residency visa scheme, and changing Labour’s position on an amnesty for overstayers. 

“While the amended bill will reduce exploitation, the Greens urge Labour to fix one of the biggest drivers of exploitation which is the practice of tying visas to a single employer. Decoupling work visas from single employers will ensure that no migrant feels trapped in an exploitative workplace because their right to live and work in Aotearoa  depends on that employer. 

“With more Green MPs we can continue fighting for improved rights for migrant workers and an economic system that works for all of us,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.

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