Migrant networks welcome the new proposed immigration changes but more regulation is needed to protect international students already here, and also non-union migrant workers.
FIRST Union’s migrant division UNEMIG (Union Network of Migrants) and IWA (Indian Workers Association) are constantly dealing with exploitative cases mainly where visas are tied to particular employers (employer assisted visas).
We see it as a bonded or slave labour which promotes corruption, extortion, exploitation and undermining of New Zealand’s employment and immigration laws.
We have been highlighting this for quite some time and have lobbied with the government as well seeking to make changes to immigration policies.
The government’s announcement proposing to remove visas being sponsored by a particular employer for international students and replacing it with open work visas is certainly a step in the right direction and will definitely help in protecting the rights of migrant workers and in keeping the system clean.
However, given that these changes, if implemented, will only affect new migrants, we are concerned that those who currently are in such situations will not get benefit of this much needed change. Also, there seems to be a lack of clarity on whether this is it, or are there going to be further steps. For example, what about migrants who are directly employed from overseas through employers in New Zealand. What about RSE workers. their visa will still be attached to a particular employer exposing them to exploitation.
Secondly, government has still not announced if it is going to regulate offshore education agents who constantly sell false promises without any fear to people who genuinely wish to migrate for better future. Such people will still be sold false dreams to settlement in New Zealand through study.