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New Zealand: Labour inspectorate finds migrant workers widely exploited in nail bars & beauty salons

Author: Talia Shadwell, Stuff Business Day, Published on: 5 June 2017

"Authorities accuse beauty salons of breaching employees' rights, as migrant workers complain of long hours and abuse"

...All around the country, beauty parlours dot the urban landscape. Walk-in salons pop up every few paces around the country's malls. But questions are being raised over just who is paying the price for their trade, as the labour inspectorate unearths "concerning" working conditions – finding nail and beauty salons under-paying employees who are often migrant women. Advocates are demanding nationwide monitoring of imported beauty labour: they say the true cost of Kiwi women's bargain beauty-hunting habits is underpaid, overworked and even sexually harassed salon workers...Auckland salon Kaya Beauty Plus Limited has been taken to the Employment Relations Authority, accused of owing workers minimum wage arrears, not paying holiday pay after employment finished, and not paying public holiday rates. The company's director Kamal Kaur vigorously denies all allegations...The business was among five nail and beauty salons the Labour Inspectorate had investigated in Auckland in the the past three years – all triggered by complaints, and many tending to involve migrant workers and employees, northern labour inspectorate chief David Milne said...Union Network of Migrants leader Dennis Maga said he had been told by some women who came to Wellington and Auckland on visas sponsored by beauty spas they were being pressured into providing sexual favours...they rarely told authorities, fearing their employer could get them deported... Wellington's Infuse Beauty Spa director Helene Brownie said she has previously hired three migrant workers who applied for jobs with her secretively – telling her they needed a new sponsor as they were trying to escape exploitative salons and feared deportation...An Auckland University study into worker exploitation last year found evidence of modern-day slavery in New Zealand, particularly among migrant workers in the dairy, construction and hospitality industries...A new law means employers caught exploiting migrant workers can be banned from hiring migrants for at least two years. Maga and Stringer both believe government agencies should also proactively monitor businesses that import migrant beauty workers.

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