Three men harvesting produce from a New Zealand field.

Migrant Exploitation in New Zealand

New Zealand, known for its low corruption, faces a growing concern with a rise in migrant exploitation cases. Recent reports shed light on scams specifically targeting migrant workers, posing a threat to the nation’s integrity and undermining the aspirations of families seeking a better life.

The core of the issue stems from the accreditation process implemented by Immigration New Zealand last year. Designed to ensure that only reputable employers hire migrant workers, the accreditation process followed a “high trust” model with limited scrutiny.

This approach has inadvertently provided a semblance of credibility to unscrupulous employers, resulting in considerable reputational damage to New Zealand’s immigration system.

Aggravating the problem is the lack of rigorous scrutiny in the second stage of the work visa process, known as the Job Check. Roles are approved without thorough verification, leading to instances where migrant workers discover they have no actual jobs or can face termination within the 90-day trial period. 

In response to the crisis, New Zealand has revamped the Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa (MEPV) to better assist victims and address employment challenges for migrant workers. Unveiled in October 2023, the government’s support package includes temporary accommodation and living expenses for exploited workers.

However, despite the initial relief, many are struggling to secure employment, prompting the government to allow eligible individuals to apply for an extended MEPV. This extension provides additional time for exploited workers to find stable employment, emphasizing the government’s commitment to protecting the well-being and rights of migrants during these difficult times.

Curious about employer accreditation? Dive into the details at here or reach out to us for a personalized case assessment!