Shareholder of Aggie Grey’s Limited fined for employment breaches in NZ


One of the significant shareholders of Aggie Grey’s Limited, which owns Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows, Leisheng (Leonard) Cheng, was fined in the Dunedin District Court for employment breaches in the amount of NZD $11,900 or WST $19,000. 

Sentencing was handed down the first week of August, according to a release by the New Zealand Immigration Cheng pleaded guilty to three offenses under sections 350(1)(a) of the Immigration Act 2009 and 66 of the Crimes Act 1961, which carry a maximum penalty of $50,000 per offense. 

The charges related to undertaking employment with someone who did not hold a visa to be in New Zealand and was unlawfully in New Zealand also employed someone on a student visa and exceeded the maximum 20 hours of work per week, and working while on a visitor visa.

Cheng operated the Great Taste restaurant in Dunedin when the offenses occurred. All three people were working at Great Taste between 2016 and 2018. Cheng owns several hospitality businesses in Dunedin.

National Manager of Immigration Investigations, Stephanie Greathead, says Cheng has supported numerous staff in visa applications and is familiar with the immigration system.

“It was his responsibility as company director to employ staff at Great Taste Restaurant and ensure they held the appropriate visas that legally entitled them to work,” Ms Greathead says. “Cheng failed in his director responsibilities and knowingly employed staff who were not eligible to work in New Zealand.”

“This offending is serious and won’t be tolerated. Cheng deliberately evaded the immigration system, and a prosecution was the appropriate avenue in this case.”

“This conviction should send a strong warning to the business community that this offending will be prosecuted and immigration visa rules need to be adhered to,” says Ms Greathead. INZ encourages anyone aware of immigration fraud to report it immediately.

The New Zealand immigration noted that enforcement options for Immigration New Zealand include informing and education, warnings, and prosecution. 

A prosecution will be considered where there is sufficient evidence and it is considered in the public interest to prosecute.