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Source: Human Rights Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner has welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry on immigration settings.

“I am particularly pleased to see the recommendations for better protection for our migrant workers who have long been prone to exploitation and low wages,” said Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo.

“The Productivity Commission concurs in finding that the tying of visas should be removed, and pathways for migrant workers to move from one employer to another made easier. Many groups over years have called for Immigration to remove the tying of work visas to one employer only, as this makes it difficult for victims to leave their abuser.”

“However, I am concerned that the Accredited Employers Work Visa soon to be rolled out in July 2022 may result again in tying workers to employers that become exploitative,” she added.

The Commissioner was also encouraged by the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that the Government fund more Labour Inspectorates, to meet the ILO benchmark of 1 inspector per 10,000 workers (we are currently at 1 inspector per 40,000 workers).”

“However, I’m quite disappointed with suggestions to discontinue the issuance of new Permanent Resident visas and instead require new Residents to renew their Resident visas every six years.”

“We must be certain that any changes to the current system don’t have unintended consequences on migrants who envision building their careers, establishing their families and contributing to our local communities here in Aotearoa New Zealand,” she added.

“It’s great to see recommendations that encourage wages to reflect scarcity, rather than exempt specific industries, firms, and occupations from general labour-market rules. I would like to see the government monitor the labour market for impacts on particular groups or communities over the economic cycle.”

“Immigration settings is an important mechanism to protect and uphold basic rights to just and favourable work conditions, an adequate standard of living, and uphold the dignity of all who are working in service of our economy and nation,” added Sumeo.