Do you have migrant staff? Are you 100% sure they are all employed lawfully and that you fully meet your legislative obligations? You’d be surprised just how many employers we see who are putting themselves at risk.
When we meet with our clients for the first time, they will often tell us they believe they are fully compliant with labour laws and all of their staff are legally employed. It doesn’t take long for us to discover that in nearly every case employers are not compliant and are exposing themselves to huge risk.
Time after time, after conducting due diligence we find employees in breach of their work visa conditions because they simply got promoted or moved to a different branch and didn’t make a new visa application as required. In other circumstances we see employees employed on open work visas, which at first glance seem fine until after doing checks we find out that the employee has an open work visa through their partner and the partner has failed exam papers at University or Polytechnic, lost their jobs, their hours have been cut by their employer to below the minimum visa requirement or they have changed employers, jobs, locations without informing immigration by making a new visa application.
When the partner of an open work visa holder, to which your employee’s visa is tied, breaches their visa conditions, your employee breaches their visa conditions by default and as a consequence YOU are breaking the law.
After reading this is, are you confident your staff are all legally employed?
It’s not just the visa status of your employees you have to pay attention to. When you hire a migrant employee or renew the visa of an existing one you will no doubt have been asked for information such as financials, PAYE, GST returns, employment agreements, bank accounts and more recently time and wage records and health and safety records. Immigration New Zealand is a branch of MBIE which is responsible for prosecuting non-compliant employers. Not surprising then that you are handing your information directly to the people who could potentially prosecute your business.
The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has been clamping down on non-compliant employers and recent high profile cases of multinational employers being publicly named and shamed and banned from hiring migrants have graced the headlines.
In these cases, what makes it even more interesting (and risky) is that the employers were banned from hiring migrant staff for breaches that did not involve migrants at all. Breaches of employer legislation not only carry with them the risk of losing the right to hire migrants, but they can also severely damage your brand and ultimately your bottom line.
Employer accreditation is currently voluntary and gives the employer certain benefits such as the ability to hire large numbers of staff without advertising, allowing certain employees to apply for residency while by passing the skilled migrant category – no English requirement for example. However, the government has announced a proposal to completely overhaul the employer-assisted work visa programme and make it compulsory for all employers to hold accreditation in order to hire migrant workers or renew the visas of existing staff from 2020.
The accreditation process is long, complex and requires a significant amount of work. If your company employs migrants and doesn’t have comprehensive:
HR, Health and Safety, Training and Development, Staff Retention, Remuneration, Migrant Support policies then you need to take action now.
Don’t worry if if any of this sounds difficult or depressing, it doesn’t have to be. With the right advice and the right systems and processes in place, it can all be managed successfully.
Call us today on 07 974 2313 to see how we can help you manage your HR and Immigration Compliance risk.