December 7, 2023

New laws impact Accredited Employers

On 06 January 2024 the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act 2023 comes into force, are you ready?
New laws impact Accredited Employers

There has been an increase in reports of migrant worker exploitation since the border reopened last year. There was a risk this would happen with a “high trust model” and a direction from the top that led to high volumes of approvals for almost every employer accreditation, job check and work visa application. Now Immigration NZ is in clean up mode.

Employers may not be aware that on 06 January 2024 the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act 2023 comes into force. This new law is intended to put a stop to migrant worker exploitation, create a regime of instant fines for lower-level offending and a public record to “name and shame” employers who don’t follow the rules. Information sharing among government agencies is also being expanded.

Employers will need to be extra cautious when recruiting and retaining migrant workers to ensure compliance with these new laws and avoid any legal repercussions. There will be a new reporting requirement for accredited employers to notify Immigration NZ within 10 working days of any changes that affect compliance with accredited employer rules to avoid accreditation being revoked. Something such as a migrant worker working briefly in a different area of NZ to the one specified on their work visa or working for any period without valid work rights may trigger a requirement to report to Immigration NZ, however breaches of this kind may still lead onto accreditation being revoked.

Highlights of the law change include:

• Instant fines (issued by an Immigration Officer or Labour Inspector) up to $3,000 for each employee offence.

• Courts given the power to double infringement fees.

• A public register to publish names of employers who are fined.

• Increased powers for Immigration Officers to demand documents from employers.

• Information sharing of incriminating documents between Immigration NZ and IRD, NZ Police, Companies Office, WorkSafe NZ, Labour Inspectors…..the list goes on.

• Courts granted the power to ban people from being directors of companies when convicted of exploiting migrant workers or people trafficking.

Is your business ready?

Excellent record keeping and ongoing education of your key people responsible for immigration compliance within your business will go a long way to avoid being caught by these new laws. Immigration compliance is a headline act for employers with equal importance alongside Employment and Health and Safety law compliance.

Avoid the traps and let our dedicated employer specialists keep your business compliant. Get in touch today.

Get started with a free assessment today

We are New Zealand’s largest and most experienced team of licensed immigration advisers. Our experts take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.