Migrant visa changes should stop 'mass exploitation' - immigration adviser

April 28, 2024

Migrant visa changes should stop 'mass exploitation' - immigration adviser

Hemanshu Rathod, an AEWV holder, wants migrant workers to be more aware of the benefits that the government has planned. Photo: Fravash Irani

Migrant workers should be better protected from exploitation with changes to the Accredited Employer Worker Visa (AEWV) announced by the Government earlier this month.

But a migrant worker who welcomes the changes says there should also be programmes to teach visa holders about  their rights as well as cultural differences.

Hemanshu Rathod supports the new English language tests the Government is adding  for migrant workers as this will help them be more aware, reducing exploitation.

As well as the English test, the changes include a skill requirement, a shorter visa length for certain jobs and additional requirements that employers must meet, in a bid to attract skilled migrants to workforces in need of more employees, like nursing,

Rathod, a retail worker on a visa, says that all migrant workers are important, and “all that matters is that they’re protected and are aware of their rights”.

Meanwhile Gaurav Soni, adviser for Zealand Immigration consulting firm, believes "mass exploitation will stop," as a result of the changes.

He has represented migrant workers who’ve been severely exploited by employers who are facing human trafficking charges.

“They were living in the car yard and working for free, the employer said they’d get them a work visa but that didn’t happen.”

Soni said the changes come from the immigration conditions over the past two years following New Zealand's COVID-19 response.

“After Covid, unlicensed immigration agents overseas would lodge visa applications and they started getting approvals.”

The changes allow more qualified migrants to enter New Zealand and “mass exploitation will stop", he says.

"People who have English language skills will be able to talk, communicate and know their rights”.

Soni says that controlled migrant checks should be more of a priority than a migrant's skill level.

Rathod agrees the changes will help provide knowledge to migrants about their rights and limit exploitation.

But he says the addition of programs that teach AEWV holders cultural differences and the rights of migrants is crucial.

Changes to the AEWV need to be flexible for all migrants, no matter a migrant's skill level, he added.

Auckland's Matariki festival this year highlights indigenous art

Auckland's Matariki festival this year highlights indigenous art

Nabeelah Khan June 12, 2024

University students and professors weigh in on newly proposed ‘assistant psychology’ role

University students and professors weigh in on newly proposed ‘assistant psychology’ role

Nabeelah Khan June 5, 2024

Giving journalism a ‘face-lift’ in a time of crisis

Giving journalism a ‘face-lift’ in a time of crisis

Jamie Lawlor June 4, 2024