As reported last night:
The Government seems likely to back down on changes to immigration law due to come into effect next month.
Several regional employers and the Canterbury Mayoral Forum have pleaded with the government to reconsider the changes, and they seem to have made some ground.
Sources have told Stuff the Government are now actively considering not implementing the new rules after negative feedback from the regions.
Prime Minister Bill English didn’t rule out making changes to the proposed new rules when asked on Sunday afternoon. …
See also: Regional revolt prompts Government rethink on immigration. Update: Now confirmed: Government backdown on immigration changes.
The Nats must now enforce better protection for migrant workers. Headlines like these are far too easy to find:
Uncovered: Exploitation of migrant workers rife in NZ
New Zealand Herald in-depth report on human trafficking
Immigrant workers felt helpless during exploitation
Mainfreight banned from hiring migrant workers
Exploited students ‘sleeping in cars’ – Immigration staff
Farm owners fined $21k for under-paying migrant workers
Abuse of young and migrant workers uncovered
Report finds migrant worker exploitation
Filipino national fined $10,000 for exploiting migrant workers
Migrant workers underpaid $70,000-plus
Kiwifruit industry sting reveals workers ripped off
Authorities accuse beauty salons of breaching employees’ rights, as migrant workers complain of long hours and abuse
On and on and on it goes. (Meanwhile 90,000 young Kiwis have no job, no training to go to).
Giving in to employer pressure for high immigration without taking effective steps to protect migrant workers is just participating in the exploitation. I can’t say it any better than this excellent piece by Tom O’Connor (last year in the Waikato Times):
Shameful exploitation of migrant workers must end
How can the economy be booming when we have children going to school hungry, homeless people, beggars in the streets of some of our bigger cities and some old people living in poverty? The problem is so large that our over-worked and under-resourced social agencies have no possibility of dealing with it.
Now, it has been revealed, to our international shame, that the exploitation of migrant workers by their own countrymen living here, as well as New Zealanders, is also a major factor in creating the wealth of a select few.
Dr Christina Stringer, an associate professor with the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Auckland found, after a two-year study, widespread exploitation of migrant workers mostly, but not exclusively, in agricultural industries.
New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world with an almost open door to temporary migrant workers, clearly to keep wages down, and permanent residency for migrants with wealth. Some of these temporary migrant workers, from prostitutes to restaurant staff, have been held as virtual slaves under the threat of deportation if they complained to authorities.
Her work makes sad and shameful reading and while it is something we might expect of some Asian countries, it is totally alien to the generally accepted New Zealand tradition of treating all people with decency and respect.
The cases she found cannot be shrugged off as isolated instances by a few rogue operators. They reveal what appears to be a covert and shameful element of our economic prosperity which has all the elements which led to Brexit in Europe and Donald Trump in the United States.
While most employers treat and pay their staff as the law requires, Dr Stringer has revealed that there are enough employers acting illegally to create a very serious issue of human trafficking and exploitation as bad as anywhere in the world.
This must be addressed at the highest level and with some urgency. Anything less is a crime against humanity for which we should be held internationally accountable.
It will be the first real test of our new Prime Minister’s willingness and ability to be the leader of the nation for all its people, not just the wealthy few. Failure will be unforgivable.