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Legislation to Safeguard Migrant Workers from Exploitation

Legislation to Safeguard Migrant Workers from Exploitation

The Aotearoa New Zealand government has taken a significant stride towards safeguarding vulnerable workers with the passage of the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill. This legislation aims to curb migrant worker exploitation by introducing new infringement offences to penalize lower-level breaches by non-compliant employers, which often escalate into more severe forms of exploitation.

The bill also introduces measures to disqualify individuals convicted of migrant exploitation and human trafficking from managing or directing companies within the country. This preventative measure is expected to hinder the misuse of corporate structures for the exploitation of migrants.

The law’s proactive approach allows for the addressing of offences before they spiral into more serious exploitation, providing much-needed protection for vulnerable populations. It covers a range of offences, from flouting minimum employment standards, such as wage underpayments, to forced labour.

This bill also implements the remaining changes proposed in the 2020 Temporary Migrant Worker Exploitation Review. The initial changes, introduced in 2021, included the establishment of a dedicated hotline, reporting tools, the Migrant Exploitation Protection Visa, and support services for victims of migrant exploitation. These measures have already yielded positive preliminary results.

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Vandana Rai

(LIA 201400900)

Vandana Rai is a Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser and has built a reputation around her rare set of skills, which could be considered ideal for her legal profession.

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