Labour calls for immigration system to be reviewed

From Checkpoint, 6:12 pm on 16 September 2016

The Labour Party is calling for a review of the immigration system following fresh claims of human-trafficking.

A commercial apple picking basket with ladder in orchard.

A file photo of freshly-picked apples on an orchard in New Zealand. Photo: 123RF

Investigators are looking into an allegation that people-traffickers are using Facebook to lure migrants into jobs paying less than $10 an hour on New Zealand orchards.

The Labour Party's spokesperson for immigration, Iain Lees-Galloway, said it was the latest in a string of stories about migrants being exploited.

He wanted an inquiry into this specific case, and a review of the system, he said.

"Our immigration system is absolutely out of control and the government is failing migrants.

"It's allowing them to be exploited, and it's failing New Zealand by having an immigration system which is absolutely broken. We are now getting these stories on a daily basis."

In a statement, Labour Inspectorate regional manager Kevin Finnegan said there were currently no investigations into the "luring of migrants into underpaid jobs via Facebook".

But he said they took any allegations of migrants being exploited very seriously.

He said there had been successful investigations into the exploitation of seasonal workers in the past.

"The Labour Inspectorate undertakes joint operations with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) as part of a whole-of-government approach to combat migrant exploitation.

"Migrants who are found to be working in breach of the conditions of their visa are putting themselves in a very vulnerable position. Where we do find this to be the case, we will report it to INZ."