NZ introduces bill to protect RSE workers


A crackdown on migrant exploitation could see guilty employers face harsher penalties – be publicly named and shamed – and banned from managing a company, as part of New Zealand’s Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill. 

This was submitted just days after announcing an additional 3000 Recognised Seasonal Employer workers will be allowed in the country, according to Radio New Zealand. 

The measures include applying infringements for lower-level offences such as refusing to provide employment documentation within a reasonable timeframe, and publicly naming and disqualifying those convicted of migrant exploitation from managing or directing a company.

In addition, the bill will also:

Establish three new Immigration Act infringement offences

Create a document production power for immigration officers

Expand the stand-down list to cover offending under the Immigration Act. 

In a statement, associate minister for workplace relations and safety Priyanca Radhakrishnan said today’s announcement was an important step as the country’s borders reopened and short-staffed employers sought to fill labour gaps.

“We need to ensure we educate migrant workers so that they know their rights, better protect those who have been exploited by providing further access to support, and hold exploitative employers to account.”

A community-led education pilot will also be rolled out, with the help of industry networks.

“Research released today shows that migrants most at risk of exploitation lack basic knowledge of their employment rights. We are making this information more accessible to migrant workers and those who employ them,” Radhakrishnan said.