Accredited Employer Exploits Migrant Workers for $3.28 a Year

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer

Discover the shocking exploitation of Indian migrant workers in Bay of Plenty, with broken promises and dismal wages. Contact Immigration Lawyer NZ for any questions.

Right, gather round, let’s talk about the latest immigration scandal that’s unfolded in the Bay of Plenty. Indian migrant workers, lured by the promise of a bright future, are instead left stranded and exploited, and it’s an absolute disgrace.

These workers, seven of them, were sold a dream that turned into a nightmare. They were promised the world – new cars, houses, managerial positions – only to find themselves working as labourers, crammed into overcrowded accommodation, and some paid as little as $3.28. Yes, you heard that right, $3.28 taxable earnings in a year. It’s an appalling indictment of how we treat migrant workers in this country.

Paul Enterprises, the company that brought them over, went into liquidation, owing over a million dollars to the IRD, while these men were left in dire straits. This company, blacklisted by Zespri, had its visa accreditation revoked, but there’s been no support for the workers. None. Immigration New Zealand is supposedly investigating, but where’s the urgency? Where’s the action?

These workers paid massive sums, up to $50,000, to secure these jobs. They were underpaid, if paid at all, no holiday pay, no sick leave, no payslips – a complete and utter exploitation. They lived in squalid conditions, up to 35 men in a single house and two sheds. Promises were broken, lives were shattered.

INZ’s response? They “empathise” with the workers’ situation. Empathise? How about acting? How about ensuring this doesn’t happen again? They approved 26 visa applications for Paul Enterprises, revoked the accreditation too late, and now three workers arrived after the liquidation. A "combination of human and system errors," they say. Not good enough.

Whakatane District Council will inspect the orchard’s accommodation, but what’s to inspect? The exploitation has already happened. These men have six-month MEPV visas but face an uphill battle finding work that pays enough to support the next visa application.

It’s a story of broken dreams, and it’s happening right here in our backyard. It’s time for action, not just words. This cannot be allowed to continue.

And that's the immigration news in Aotearoa today. Do follow and subscribe for more content. Ka Kite Ano.

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Last modified on 25 June 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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