Reducing exploitation of migrant and student workers with online learning

The Government is making more progress to protect migrant workers and school students from exploitation today by providing a new online multilingual learning programme, which checks and clarifies employment rights knowledge in less than 30 minutes, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced today.

The Introduction to Your Employment Rights e-module is the first multilingual programme of its kind, and another step in the proactive prevention of worker exploitation. The tool is currently available in six languages.

“Migrant workers and students entering the workforce remain two of the most vulnerable workforce groups in New Zealand, as often they have little understanding of their employment rights. This educational module sets the scene to improve knowledge of their rights and empower them to know what to do from the start of their employment,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

“The module will enable workers to understand their employment agreements, know their employment rights, and stand up for them or seek support, if needed. Better informing these employee groups will ensure they have better work experiences and help protect them from exploitative practices.”

The module will be promoted to tertiary and industry training providers, unions, schools, migrant groups and also through the immigration system.

Initially it is available in English, Samoan, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, and Tagalog. It has a voice-over for the same languages, to ensure that people with low literacy can understand their rights.

The module will be translated into more languages in the future and should be followed soon by an employer obligations learning module which is being developed.

The completed module provides a learning record for users, which they can choose to share with their employers or training organisation. Furthermore, organisations can request their own accounts to track use and completion rates for employees.

“I’m encouraging all businesses to advise their migrant staff (including those still in their home countries), young staff, or those new to the workforce to use the learning module and complete it. This is a matter of good practice on the part of employers that can help ensure employees are aware of their minimum employment rights.

“The learning records can also be used by businesses to show their customers that they take ethical employment seriously. I am also encouraging secondary and tertiary education providers, and industry training organisations to educate their students and empower future employees,” Iain Lees-Galloway says.

The module also shows employees how to get more information and support, including through a suite of more in-depth employer and employee e-learning modules accessible on the Employment Services website.

Please note: as part of our commitment to taking serious action on migrant exploitation, we are proposing some significant changes to help prevent migrant exploitation, protect exploited migrants, and enforce appropriate working conditions and immigration obligations.  Go to www.mbie.govt.nz/exploitationreview to read the proposals and have your say. The closing date for feedback is 5pm, 27 November.