5 May 2020

CTU calls for emergency benefit access for temporary workers

6:39 pm on 5 May 2020

The Council of Trade Unions wants people on temporary working visas who have lost their job to have access to emergency benefits.

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File photo. Photo: RNZ/ Rebekah Parsons-King

Its economist Andrea Black said the government had the power to provide emergency benefits for immigrants who have been made redundant, by activating the provisions in existing legislation.

"The legislative framework for caring for these people already exists. We call on the government to enable this to happen," Black said.

She says there are a significant number of people on temporary working visas who are unable to leave the country.

"Kindness needs to extend to those people who have come to New Zealand from other countries to provide services to New Zealand businesses and now, through no fault of their own, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, are unable to work and unable to return home."

Last month the government eased visa rules to allow businesses to make greater use of immigrant labour during alert levels 3 and 4, with the ability to extend the changes up to six weeks after the country moves to alert level 2.

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