Demand for More Open Visas in New Zealand on the Rise

Demand for More Open Visas in New Zealand on the Rise

The Indian Workers Association (IWA) and the Union Network of Immigrants (UNEMIG) jointly conducted a survey and an OIA which reveal that for the exploitation of foreign workers to be significantly cut down, and wages lifted for all, the proposed temporary work visas must become open work visas.

UNEMIG and IWA have accessed info from the Official Information Act which shows that there have been more than 5,000 applications from holders of the Employer Assisted Visa who wants their visas made open. Having an open working visa empowers workers to change employers and speak out when their employers are not treating them well. The proposal by UNEMIG and IWA demands that temporary work visas be made open in a way that migrant workers be attached to a specific region or skill instead of being attached to an employer in a particular place.

Another survey conducted by these two organizations has 650 workers out of 1,000 of them confirming that they were constrained by their non-flexible visa which attached them to a specific employer and denied them the ability to exercise their rights. Consequently, they were subjected to the exploitations of their employers.

The Coordinator at the Official Information Act, Mandeep Bela remarked that the survey showed that a higher number of Essential skills visa holders expressed that they were exploited due to their inability to find work elsewhere and change employers. He called for the urgent need to make these visas more open to enable workers to take their services to where there are more favorable working conditions.

The current immigration policy subjects migrant workers to bonded labor

According to him, the urgent need to take action is evident in the number of applications coming in from migrants who want their visas made open. He went further to say that the current method of attaching migrant workers to a specific employer can be counted as bonded labor.

Mr. Bela called for the inclusion of the open visa policy in the current proposal being made on new immigration changes.

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