Strengthening our hand against migrant exploitation

The Coalition Government is making a significant investment in immigration services to better detect exploitation of migrants and continue to improve visa processing, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

“Eliminating the exploitation of migrants is one of this Government’s top priorities. Our investment announced today will contribute to the early identification of people at risk of exploitation,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

“An increase of $34.0 million of operating funding over the next four years will enable Immigration New Zealand to employ an additional 29 staff to increase screening and assessment of air passengers and help identify exploitation risks early. 

“Exploitation takes many forms, including outright slavery, undermining an individual’s personal freedom, underpayment of wages, and failing to meet guaranteed minimum entitlements. These practices undermine human rights and the vast majority of businesses that do the right thing.

“Additionally, Budget 2018 provides $20.9 million in operating funding in 2017/18, $98.9 million in operating funding over the following four years, and $12.5 million in capital funding to help meet cost and capability pressures on Immigration New Zealand as it transitions to a new visa operating model.

“Budget 2018 also provides $5.6 million of new operating funding over the next four years to enable the Immigration Advisers Authority to target unlawful immigration advice. This will also reduce risks of migrant exploitation by increasing the quality of immigration advice.

“The changes respond to pressures on our border operations and increases in the number of visa applications as a result of significant growth in international visitor numbers in recent years.

The increased funding will be partially recovered from immigration fees ($113.0 million over four years) and the Immigration Levy ($44.7 million over four years).

“Immigration New Zealand is changing to a new operating model through the Visa Services 2020 transformation programme, which will result in significant operational savings beginning in 2019/20,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.