Why Low-skilled Migrant Workers Face Even Worse Exploitation Under NZ’s New Rules?

The New Zealand government's recent changes to visa rules claim that Low-skilled Migrant Workers Face Even Worse Exploitation

The New Zealand government’s recent changes to visa rules claim that Low-skilled Migrant Workers Face Even Worse Exploitation

The New Zealand government’s recent changes to visa rules claim that Low-skilled Migrant Workers Face Even Worse Exploitation. However, these changes are likely to have the opposite effect, particularly for low-skilled migrant workers.

Growing Problem of Exploitation

Exploitation of migrant workers in New Zealand has become increasingly common, with reports of fraud, wage theft, and other forms of exploitation in sectors like agriculture and hospitality. This exploitation has become systemic, highlighting a concerning trend in the New Zealand labor market.

Disempowering Low-skilled Workers

The new rules impose additional burdens on low-skilled visa holders, classifying them as level 4 or 5 by the ANZSCO. These workers now need to meet new standards, including proving a minimum standard of English and demonstrating relevant work experience or qualifications. They also face shorter visa time limits and a 12-month stand-down period outside New Zealand once their visa expires.

Increased Risk of Exploitation

These new rules increase the risk of workplace exploitation by adding hurdles to visa applications and renewals, and by reducing the ability of work visa holders to negotiate with employers. The financial burdens imposed by these rules may encourage profit-making by migration intermediaries and English language testing agencies, further exacerbating the issue.

Recycling Old Ideas

The new rules recycle regulations that have previously led to workplace exploitation. The accredited employer work visa scheme, introduced in 2021, streamlined the visa process based on wages earned, but it has been criticized for creating a marketplace for exploitation. Additionally, the three-year limits on low-skilled work visa holders introduced in 2017 were never implemented due to COVID border closures.

Limited Freedom and Choice

Low-skilled migrant workers face restricted freedom and choice under these rules, as they are tied to their employers and have limited time to recoup migration costs. Some employers exploit this situation, knowing that migrant workers are unable to negotiate conditions or challenge exploitation.

A Better Approach

It is possible to develop migration policies that reduce exploitation. Other labor migrants in New Zealand, including those in high-skilled occupations, enjoy rights similar to citizens and permanent residents. Australian citizens and permanent residents have even fewer restrictions on migration and work, highlighting the disparity faced by low-skilled migrant workers.

The new visa rules in New Zealand, while aiming to address exploitation and unsustainable migration, are likely to worsen the situation for low-skilled migrant workers. By imposing additional burdens and restrictions, these rules disempower workers and increase the risk of exploitation. A better approach is needed to ensure that all workers, regardless of skill level, are protected and treated fairly in the labour market.

About Right Sider

AvatarRight sider is a passionate writer who has traveled extensively around the world, learning about the history of all the regions and walking the paths of his characters.

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