Higher Pay for Migrant Workers Upsetting Kiwis

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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Discontent grows in NZ workplaces due to wage gaps between local and migrant employees. Friction arises as migrant workers face wage restrictions and resentment from local staff. Contact Immigration Lawyer NZ for any questions.

In this INZ news today, we take a look into a brewing issue that’s causing quite the stir across workplaces in New Zealand.

We're seeing a wage war between local workers and their migrant colleagues, and here’s why. Over 30,000 Kiwi companies have lined up since 2021 to become accredited to employ migrants. The Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme mandates that these migrant workers must earn at least the median wage of about $30 an hour, significantly higher than our minimum wage of $23.15. Now imagine you’re working hard, only to find out your colleague from overseas is earning more than you for the same work. It sucks, doesn't it?

Two people, side by side, same job, but not the same pay. It's no surprise that this discrepancy is causing tension.

Businesses, on the other hand, are merely complying with immigration rules that the Labour government set down. They were paying market rates but now face the challenge of meeting higher wage thresholds for migrants while trying to keep costs down. This shift has forced some to level up wages for all employees, but not every business can afford to do so.

And the Council of Trade Unions supports the Accredited Employer Work Visa's wage requirements, arguing that it helps raise local wages and prevents businesses from using cheap overseas labour to suppress costs. It’s a complex issue with no easy answers. Pay disparity, whether hidden or overt, is a ticking time bomb in workplace harmony, and in some cases, it’s even stirring racist sentiments.

As industries grapple with these wage policies, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between economic survival and equitable pay. It’s a scenario where everyone has a stake, and the balance is delicate.

Here's something to keep an eye on though: the Immigration Minister Erica Stanford mentioned recently that she is considering removing the median wage requirement for migrants. This could change the landscape quite a bit, so watch this space.

This issue isn't just about money; it's about fairness, respect, and maintaining harmony in our workplaces. Let's push for transparency and equity in pay. If you found this discussion helpful, don't forget to subscribe and hit the like button for more on immigration news and updates. Ka Kite Ano.

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Last modified on 29 May 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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