A stringent new law has come into effect last Friday in an effort to crack down the greedy employers taking advantage of the vulnerable migrant workers, who are in New Zealand unlawfully or on a temporary Visa.
If found guilty under this new law, the employers may face and imprisonment of up to 7 years or a fine of $100,000. They may also face deportation if it they committed the offence within 10 years of obtaining residence.
It is often the case that the employers were migrants themselves in New Zealand and know that the migrant workers tend to give in to the substandard working conditions including long hours and under wages because of their employers’ sponsorship requirements for their visas. Immigration New Zealand has put in place a system where the unfairly treated migrant workers no longer have to put up with this crime for fear of their immigration status being jeopardised.
Serious failure to pay minimum wages, holiday pays or forcing the migrant workers to work against their will all amount to exploitation. If the evidence against employers suffices on a balance of probability, there seems be little defence for the condemned employers. How serious is serious enough will be evidentiary matters taking into account all relevant factors, including the amount of money involved, period over which the offence had occurred and whether the offence was clearly intentional.
This indicates the Government’s strong intention not to tolerate the abhorrent offence against the vulnerable people, which often brings the country into disrepute.
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” Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.”[James 5:4]