Pastoral Care is Vital for Migrant Recruitment

Taking care of people has always been important in recruitment and of course a critical consideration for HR Management.

When it comes to migrant recruitment pastoral care moves to another dimension. This article we wrote was published in the June/July 2018 printed edition of Construction News.

The Value, Relevance & Importance of Employer Duty of Care Is Amplified When Employing Migrants

In recruitment and in Human Resource Management, we often have to re-connect with the fact that we are dealing with people – much as we would like to sidestep some of the people-care processes (and some employers in fact do), taking care of people in our employment is actually a primary requirement for employers.

Employing people effectively brings them into a family. The sense of belonging and of being valued is 100% the single most emotive motivating factor for employees. This sense of belonging, of collaboration and involvement is what builds loyalty, determination and drive in a team. The way you lead people determines how they will value you, the depth of your culture and the bonds between the people in your organisation.

How Does Duty Of Care Differ for Migrant Workers?

What about when those people in your team are living away from their home country, as so many are in the broader NZ Construction Industries at present – how does this change things?

In a word, it doesn’t, but it does intensify the needs of your employees.
When people feel included and cared for, they tend to thrive. When people feel isolated or uncared for a myriad of negative emotions take control of the mindset – making consistently good work almost impossible to achieve.

People working in a foreign country, of course, feel isolated, so the corresponding effort required to allow them the emotional confidence of fitting in is magnified – employers must amplify their efforts to make foreign workers feel welcome, cared for and valued if they wish the relationship to be successful.

It makes perfect sense therefore that foreign workers require extra focus on duty of care. However, many NZ Employers make no effort in this area – now a legal requirement in the case of Filipino workers.

From the moment a Filipino worker sets foot on New Zealand soil, their new employer and new chief benefactor becomes the nucleus of their world.

While there are strong parallels between New Zealand lifestyle and Filipino everyday lifestyle, the two worlds are also very far apart. Culture shock is common, homesickness is very real and being paid a New Zealand skilled worker’s wage or salary has a huge impact on the life of a newly imported Filipino.

With this in mind, the Philippines Government, together with the New Zealand Government, placed key rules in place on NZ Employers some years ago – which some employers are ignoring.

  • All Filipino workers must be met at the airport on arrival and transported to their new residence – a residence to be provided by the employer at no charge to the employee for at least 2 weeks.
  • All Filipino workers must be paid for a minimum of 30 hours per week for the duration of their contract – you may not stand them down if your business goes quiet or if you have project delays. These people are here to provide a future life for their families at home and send money back to the Philippines from every pay check.
  • No Filipino worker should pay for his or her own visa or travel – this is 100% the responsibility of the new employer, nor may they be asked to pay for their own trade tests.

Some New Zealand employers sadly are cutting corners on the requirements above and are endangering the positive reputation of our country for the Philippines as a destination for skilled workers – reliable, positive skilled workers – who just want to work hard and please their employer, while also managing to build a more positive future for their family at home.

The unforgiving and all revealing media spotlight is now pointing at the NZ Construction Industry.

Terms such as exploitation, people trafficking and illegal immigrant are being brought to light by the media – often without the owner of the business actually being aware that he or she is at fault – a victim in his or her own right.

However, the point that we wish to make here is not about the employers. It’s about the workers.

Do these workers not deserve the right to due care and respect while away from their home country, while they are enabling projects to be continued (accelerated even) – are they not worthy of a spend of a few thousand dollars to follow correct process: not just for the sake of the processes being followed and that the work and business profit may continue, but because they are hard working people with families from whom they are distanced.

They deserve to be cared for and to become part of an employer’s family – any and everyone who has ever brought a Filipino worker into their business will attest to this.

If you would like to view a full copy of Immigration NZ’s Employer Guide to Recruitment from the Philippines – or if you would like to discuss details of recruiting from the Philippines, please contact Melissa Coope or Tanya Gray at RecruitNZ’s International Division.

Download a PDF of the published article here.

Contact us to find out how we can help your business.

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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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