Worker Protection Act takes effect in January25 January 2024
Introduces 3 new immigration infringement offences for employers
The Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act 2023 came into effect on 6 January 2024. This Act targets the issue of migrant exploitation, introducing several modifications across the Employment Relations Act, the Immigration Act, and the Companies Act.
Key changes to the Immigration Act include:
- Obligating employers to furnish employment-related documentation within 10 working days upon request by an immigration officer.
- Introducing three new immigration infringement offences, which involve
- allowing unauthorized individuals to work,
- employing someone in violation of visa-related conditions, and
- failing to comply with document provision requirements within the stipulated timeframe.
- Granting the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) the authority to publish the names of employers found in violation of the Immigration Act.
MBIE will not start issuing infringement notices until relevant updates to immigration regulations are made, specifying the form of the infringement notice. This depends on the decisions made by the new government. Further information on the implementation of infringement notices will be provided post the government's decision, notifying employers of migrants about this anticipated change in 2024.
Upon the establishment of revised immigration regulations facilitating the issuance of infringement notices, MBIE will have the authority to issue notices for offenses occurring before the regulations were enacted, up to a maximum of 90 days preceding or until 6 January 2024, whichever is later.
The offences that will lead to a stand-down and the formula for calculating a stand-down period are still to be approved by the government. So further announcements on this are awaited.
In general, the new infringement offenses align with existing employer obligations, reinforcing the requirement for employers to hire individuals with valid visas, in accordance with visa conditions, and to provide necessary documents as part of post-decision checks under the Accredited Employer scheme.
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