The Immigration Amendment Bill number 2 will become law.

Apart from changes in respect of visas and appeals etc it introduces new offences for employers in respect of workers holding work visas. The law changes are designed to deal with the problem of exploited migrant workers. Although the term exploited is used the offence itself can involve just preventing or hindering a person from having access to a phone or using a phone or using a phone privately, or taking control of a person’s passport or travel document.

In addition infringements of employment laws can be regarded as exploitation depending on a labour inspectors assessment of the extent of the breach.

The compliance division of Immigration New Zealand has been very blunt about its desire to police employers and have been given significant powers to deal with this issue.

If an employer is reckless in failing to ascertain the immigration status of its workers they are likely to face prosecution.

We would urge all employers to ensure they have systems in place to confirm the immigration status of all employees.

All employers should have on record a copy of an employee’s Visa (whether a residence Visa or any other form of Visa) and a record of their citizenship if the employee claims to be a citizen.

It is no longer a sufficient excuse to rely on the employees declarations about their immigration status or citizenship.

For assistance on immigration matters contact our immigration specialist Aaron Martin on aaron@turnerhopkins.co.nz.

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