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18 Aug 2023

Blessen Tom & Liu Chen, Radio New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand launches investigation into migrant worker exploitation

The government has launched an investigation into dozens of migrant workers who have been left stranded in Auckland.

A Newshub report on Sunday revealed that more than 30 workers were stuck in Auckland after arriving in the country on accredited employment work visas.

Despite paying significant sums of money, ranging from $15,000 to $40,000, to various agents for their visas and related jobs, most of these workers were not provided with any paid employment.

Immigration New Zealand has since launched an investigation into four more properties in Auckland housing dozens more workers who are jobless.

Investigators have interviewed 115 Indian and Bangladeshi nationals who entered New Zealand on accredited employment work visas. They also inspected the residences where the workers are staying and found that these properties were unsuitable for accommodating such a large number of people...

The migrants in the house have contacted Union Network of Migrants NZ president Mandeep Singh Bela and asked for help.

Bela said the accredited employer visa scheme had become an epidemic of migrant exploitation.

"This work visa scheme is being abused right now and the minister (of immigration) needs to have a good look at the accredited employer work visa processes, including how their accreditations are approved," he said.

He said employers were not held accountable under the current system and expressed concern about the health and safety risks posed by overcrowded accommodation...