22 May 2020

Migrant workers caught in limbo with no safety net

From Nine To Noon, 9:08 am on 22 May 2020

The government's being urged to hurry up and use new powers granted under legislation passed last week that would allow migrants to work in jobs outside their visa conditions.

The fast-tracked immigration bill allows a 12-month time frame for the Minister to impose, vary or cancel conditions for groups of temporary entry class visa holders, extend expiry dates and waive any regulatory requirements for certain classes of application.

There's about 350,000 temporary visa holders onshore and the government says over 200,000 of them have work visas with conditions that might need to be varied.

Migrants who have lost their jobs are stuck in the country without the means to support themselves - they can't change jobs and they can't access the benefit. To discuss their situation, Lynn Freeman is joined by Scott Donaldson,  a senior associate with AWS Legal based in Queenstown, Anu Kaloti - President of the Migrant Workers Association and Sue Moroney, chief executive of Community Law.

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Photo: 123RF, RNZ