The Cook Islands internal affairs ministry says it's up to disgruntled employees to raise grievances with their employers after complaints of exploitation.
In a column in the Cook Islands News this week, lawyer Norman George said there were cases of severe mistreatment of foreign workers by local employers.
Mr George said he knew first-hand of problems involving low pay, poor accomodation, long hours and unfair contracts.
The secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Brenda Drollet, says employees have recourse through the disputes resolution process, but they first have to raise any grievances with their employer.
However, Ms Drollet says there are some potential policy changes the government could implement to improve the disputes resolution process.