The Employment Relations Authority has imposed a penalty of $12,000 on the owner of a grocery and produce shop for demanding payment from his employee to support his visa application.
Raw N Fresh Limited and its Director Amardeep Singh, who had traded as both ‘Drury Lane Fruit and Vegies’ and ‘Waiuku Fruit and Veges’, demanded a newly employed shop manager pay $20,000 in exchange for supporting the employee’s visa.
He later reduced the amount to $18,000.
Both times the employee refused to make the payments but chose to leave his job and report the matter to the Labour Inspectorate.
Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager Loua Ward said that following investigation, Mr Amardeep Singh was fined $12,000, half of which would go to the victim.
“Employers who exploit vulnerable workers by making them pay premiums in exchange for a job and breach the New Zealand law will not be tolerated. This practice takes advantage of migrants who may not be aware of all their rights and entitlements in New Zealand, or may not feel like they have any other option. We understand it can be difficult for employees to come forward and raise concerns about the way they are being treated by an employer,” she said.
The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or who knows of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.