14 Nov 2023

Crackdown on Auckland hospitality and retail sectors for exploiting migrant workers

6:43 pm on 14 November 2023
AUCKLAND, NZ - MAY 29:Traffic on Queen street with the Skytower in the background on May 29 2013.It's a major commercial thoroughfare in the Auckland CBD, New Zealand's main population center.

Photo: 123rf.com

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said some employers in Auckland's hospitality and retail sectors have been exploiting migrant workers.

This follows a large scale crackdown to check over 80 outlets last week following formal complaints.

Labour Inspectorate spokesman Simon Humphries said they found many serious breaches of minimum employment standards.

This included pay below the minimum wage, no employment contracts, breaches of visa conditions, no record keeping and employers demanding money from their staff.

He said employee leave and holiday entitlements were also withheld in some cases.

"We take migrant exploitation seriously. The operation is a tangible example of the commitment to follow up alleged beaches of minimum employment standards and exploitive practices."

Humphries said the intent was to educate where possible but also hold employers accountable who are deliberately exploiting migrants.

"There were instances where we were disappointed to find serious breaches."

He said enforcement action will be taken against businesses where issues of deliberate non-compliance and exploitative practices were uncovered.

"At this stage we expect between 12 and 15 infringement notices will be issued which could lead to some accredited employers being placed on the stand-down list."

MBIE is encouraging migrant employees who are concerned about their employment conditions to get in touch through its contact centre.

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