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Exploitation of migrants: $50m government inquiry

Oct 31, 2021

An inquiry into workplace exploitation of migrants will look at the scale of the problem and whether the government's actions have had an effect.

The education and workforce committee is asking for public submissions.

The government is spending 50 million dollars over four years to reduce migrant exploitation.

MPs want to investigate which sectors are worst affected, what prevents migrants reporting exploitation and its impact on workers and their families.

The committee will look at whether a visa introduced to support victims leaving their job is working and whether further changes are needed.

The inquiry will consider the government processes used to investigate suspected cases and what powers the Labour Inspectorate need to clamp down on them.

Public consultation runs until the start of February.

Terms of reference:

  • To consider the frequency and scale of exploitation of migrant workers in New Zealand.
  • Investigate the impact of exploitation on migrant workers and their families and what can be done to address these impacts. Investigate the profile and sectors where exploitation of migrant workers occurs to gain a better understanding of the occurrence of workplace migrant exploitation.
  • Investigate the conditions that are leading to temporary migrant workers' exploitation in New Zealand.
  • Investigate the profile of temporary migrant workers in New Zealand, and the behaviours and policy settings that can enable them to leave exploitative employment. Consider what further powers, if any, should be given to the Labour Inspectorate to deal with migrant exploitation.
  • Investigate what further measures the government could consider to actively deter employer non-compliance.
  • Investigate what recent changes to visa settings (designed to support exploited workers) have been made, how they are working, and whether any further changes are needed. Look into the government processes used to investigate cases of exploitation and how migrant workers participate in these processes.
  • Find out what barriers prevent migrants coming forward to report exploitation.
  • Online submissions on the inquiry into migrant exploitation are open on the Parliament website.
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