RNZ, Wellington –
The government will try to help a group of up to 30 Chinese construction workers who have been left without work and a place to live.
In December, RNZ reported the group’s concerns about Peter Li, who they said they paid tens of thousands of dollars for work visas.
The men were given contracts with a labour hire company, National Personnel Limited (NPL).
They were promised steady work, but the men said that had not happened and on Monday the group was trespassed from their temporary accommodation.
Police were called when they tried to retrieve their belongings the next day.
The workers are restricted from working for any company other than NPL because of the type of visa they hold.
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) was working with the men and the Unite union to see what help it could offer.
“The sorts of things that they will be looking into is, can there be a variation to their visas that allows them to pick up work (with other employers). I believe that a number of employers have come forward and offered the opportunity to work, and that’s what these workers are looking for. They just want to be able to work, earn some money, and take care of themselves whilst they are in New Zealand,” he said.
Mr Lees-Galloway said the workers’ welfare was a priority.
Police said that no one had been arrested over the trespass, but they were still investigating whether any offences were committed.
Meanwhile, Chen Genxiang, a worker, said that a Chinese community group had provided accommodation for about 18 of the men.
“Two women from the community group came yesterday,” she said through a translator.
“They’re also Chinese. They gave us some food. We felt reassured. They told us that they will help us to make contact with the Chinese consulate here and get back the money we paid in China.”
INZ said that the options available to the workers would depend on their personal circumstances.
An Immigration New Zealand investigation into Mr Li is ongoing.
Indian Newslink has published the above Report and Picture under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway: Workers’ welfare is a priority (Photo: RNZ)