The Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill is now law and will protect vulnerable workers in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The legislation will come into force from 6 January 2024, and will amend the Immigration Act 2009, the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Companies Act 1993 by introducing a fit-for-purpose offence and penalty regime to deter employers of temporary migrant workers from non-compliance with their obligations.
Exploitation of migrant workers can include a range of non-compliance with employer obligations through to forced labour and people trafficking.
As part of these legislative changes, employers will have to comply with requests from the Labour Inspectorate within 10 working days including the provision of employment-related documents. A new infringement offence has been introduced for employers failing to comply with the Inspectorate’s request within the 10-working-day deadline.
The law change will empower the High Court to disqualify a person from being a director of a New Zealand company if they are convicted of exploitation of unlawful employees and temporary workers under the Immigration Act 2009 or trafficking in persons offence under the Crimes Act 1961.
In 2020, the Temporary Migrant Worker Exploitation Review was established to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect migrant workers in New Zealand.
This legislation is the final piece of the Migrant Worker Exploitation programme package, which includes a dedicated 0800 reporting line and webform, joint compliance approach by the Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand, liaison service to support exploited migrant workers, and proactive information and education to prevent exploitation.
You can report exploitation to us by:
- calling 0800 200 088
- using our reporting migrant exploitation webform (external link) .