Pastoral Care Takes On New Perspective

How duty of care has taken a new level of relevance in the recruitment of skilled migrants – and why this is important for employers to understand. 

There has recently been plenty of news from the Construction Industry concerning Migrant Recruitment.

Reporters are on high alert – actively trawling social sites investigating leads, seeking out people affected by lack of correct process being followed – seeking out the ‘breaking story’. Don’t let it be you.

Let’s take a look at the employer obligations when recruiting skilled migrants – in particular within the growing niche of recruitment of skilled migrants from the Philippines.

The Philippines have appointed POEAs [Philippines Overseas Employment Agencies] – through whom all Philippines recruitment must pass. They have established this process to ensure that Filipinos working outside of the Philippines are treated ethically. Sadly, this was a necessary move to avoid what effectively had amounted to people trafficking.

Employers here in New Zealand are employing Filipinos without paying for their visa, without paying for their airfare and without paying for their accommodation on arrival.

NZ Employers are entering what they feel is a great deal for them – but here’s the thing, this is completely illegal and totally unethical and it’s a matter of time before the whistle blows.

Some Construction employers have site managers who literally are sending workers into the street to avoid being seen by immigration officer visits – somewhat of an indicator that they are aware that their practices are not in good faith.

Employers recruiting workers from the Philippines are obliged to pay all transit costs and all costs associated with the recruitment. Employers are also obliged to meet their migrant employees on arrival, and take them to their new accommodation – accommodation provided by and paid for by the employer. They need to really take care of these people. Great employers do this because they are good employers.

Saddling a Filipino worker with an NZ$6,000 loan is a catastrophic situation should the employment not work out and the employee needs to return to their home country, and this has happened.

Another aspect of this incredible employment resource opportunity that employers should become aware of is that, by failing to pay the (optional) skills test fee, you are opening yourself up to a gap in official processes in the Philippines. It’s just better to play by the rules and get what you expected.

So, what happens if you are following incorrect immigration processes and are caught?

Firstly, your workers are sent home. With their huge if not insurmountable debt – for which you are responsible.

Secondly, you may be banned from recruiting again – in some instances for years. Your projects will come to a grinding halt.

Thirdly, you will face significant fines and in some cases prosecution.

You will not have the opportunity to shift accountability to any of your professional advisers, as the employer is fully responsible for all actions regarding employment.

How great a deal is it now to have your skilled migrants shoulder the cost of arriving in New Zealand?

Wouldn’t it just be better to be a good employer, pay the necessary fees and be legitimate? Not because of the consequences, but because it’s the right thing to do.

So many businesses in the New Zealand Construction Industry have been build on relationships, good faith, and positive values & ethics – this positive good will absolutely be extended to migrants.

If you would like a copy of Immigration NZ’s Guide for Employers as an independent document as to where the rules lie, please contact our International Division. We would be more than happy to send you a copy.

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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