New safeguards to protect migrant workers from exploitation

Workplace Relations and Safety

The Government has taken further steps to protect migrant workers and champion workers’ rights through the passing of the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill today.

“This is another positive step towards addressing migrant worker exploitation in Aotearoa New Zealand, where we’re taking action to protect our migrant workers from exploitation,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, said.

“The Worker Protection Bill brings in new infringement offences, providing tools to target breaches at the lower level. This is important because lower-level breaches often lead to more serious exploitation.

“Those convicted of migrant exploitation and people trafficking will also now be disqualified from managing or directing companies in New Zealand, helping prevent people from using corporate structures to exploit migrants.

“We need to ensure that our employment and immigration systems work well to protect the conditions of every employee in New Zealand, including migrant workers,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

The Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill introduced the final changes from the 2020 Temporary Migrant Worker Exploitation Review.

The first changes were implemented in 2021 and included a dedicated 0800 number and reporting tools, the Migrant Exploitation Protection Visa, and liaison support services for victims of migrant exploitation.

“These measures had significant uptake and positive results however migrant exploitation is an area which needs ongoing vigilance. While no one solution is a silver bullet, the changes we have made collectively go a long way to address this issue.

“I want to thank all of those who have engaged with the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill as it went through the House.

“I also want to acknowledge those who work tirelessly to support and advocate for migrant workers,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.