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4 Aug 2023

Ankur Sabharwal, Stuff (NZ)

NZ: Immigration lawyer highlights gaps in Accredited Employer work visa scheme & migrant exploitation

"How INZ is enabling a 'huge immigration scam,"

... INZ’s “ask no questions” approach to the Accredited Employer work visa is leading to migrant exploitation and an influx of unqualified workers for non-genuine positions...

A company which has no staff at present can easily be approved “high volume” accreditation to hire six or more migrant workers. Again, just tick the right boxes on the application form.

Next, the employer advertises the role for 14 days and then informs INZ that no suitable New Zealand candidates applied. As a result, INZ approves a "job check", which permits the employer to hire the same number of workers they advertised for in New Zealand.

Employers don't have to prove to INZ that they need this many new workers from overseas or that they can afford to pay them...

Since June last year, when the Accredited Employer category opened, INZ has approved about 43,000 job check applications for accredited employers to hire 209,000 migrant workers.

Seventy percent of these job check approvals stated that overseas workers do not require any qualifications or work experience to fill positions offered by New Zealand employers.

Half the job check approvals requiring no qualifications or work experience were for positions in high-skilled or mid-skilled occupations...

Instead, INZ has parked its ambulance at the bottom of the cliff – it now plans to investigate 15% of Accredited Employers to find out if they are meeting their obligations.

It is also responding to complaints from Accredited Employer work visa holders.

INZ’s parent body, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), had received 694 complaints about accredited employers by May this year, so it has plenty to investigate...

What INZ needs to be doing, in my opinion, is:

  • Checking whether the positions offered are genuine. Why does a company which employs no staff suddenly need 10 workers?
  • Checking whether a company can afford to pay for these extra workers. In many cases, it cannot.
  • Requiring a reasonable level of qualification or work experience before approving a job check.
  • Checking to find out whether a work visa applicant’s qualification or work experience is genuine.