Worker exploitation protection to be boosted

Updated

An increase in workers, especially migrants, suffering exploitation has prompted increased Budget spending. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand will receive a funding boost to assist in the efforts to crack down on worker exploitation.

While in opposition Labour campaigned on a boost to the number of inspectors, pointing at a rapid increase in workers, particularly migrants, forced to work in atrocious conditions.

To help do this, $8.8 million has been put aside for the next four years.

Initially the Labour Inspectorate will use the money to ease an increasing workload and figure out where the additional resources are best used.

This will include a boost to inspector numbers.

Alongside, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced an extra $34m over four years for Immigration NZ to add an extra 29 staff to screen air passengers at the border.

They would be looking for signs of exploitation, from slavery and people trafficking to underpayment of wages.

Dodgy immigration advice is also in the Government’s sights, with $5.6m for the Immigration Advisors Authority to crack down.

Cost pressures facing Immigration NZ have also been addressed, with $21m over four years to help it transition to a new visa operating model.

The boosted funding will be partially recovered from immigration fees and levies.