Let’s take the sting out of exploitation
How has the exploitation of migrants arisen and why is it on the increase?
What motivates one to exploit another? Why do those that are exploited allow it to happen? Do they have any choice?
This is a conversation about control, greed and quick money.
How in the country of straight shooters with an ethos of what you pay is what you get can allow such a practice?
The victims of exploitation
Different ways of engaging are slowly but surely becoming the norm. Market conditions including supply and demand have encouraged perpetrators to exploit victims, among who are international students, over stayers, those with visitors’ and working holiday visas.
In the international student scene, the incentive is to get a job offer that will lead to residency. The motive to gain residence can be at any expense. Some pay for job offers. They work in such positions in exchange for being sponsored for residency with nominal pay, despite the existence of employment agreements and a show of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) remittances to the Inland Revenue Department.
The actual exchange is highly orchestrated and at times difficult to unravel because of tracing issues resulting in a lack of evidence. Prosecution therefore becomes a difficult task. If the exchange of money takes place to an offshore bank account or via a third party, it can lead to further difficulties in getting someone prosecuted. Some victims are reluctant to come forth as they fear they may be prosecuted as well.
Those perpetrators partaking in such practices are openly negotiating, and boast of their successes in terms of attaining residence visas for their partners in crime. Fearless of the repercussions, they are oblivious to the wrongdoing and treat it as the norm.
Sectors of Auckland is said to be prolific with such activity. Anecdotal evidence being that some graduates feel they have no choice but to pursue this route to gain New Zealand residency. Many willingly submit themselves to be exploited.
This of is a worrying trend.
Businesses that normally would not survive but for this practice, create an artificial bubble of economic activity.
The exploitation of migrants creates a labour force that does not comply with the regulatory requirements. It introduces a competitive advantage over those who have ethical business practices. Most importantly, it brings into disrepute those with ethical business practices; they become tarred with the same brush as their unscrupulous counterparts.
The ramifications are far beyond what was once envisaged and is part of this complex issue facing the New Zealand of today.
The tension between the education outcome verses the immigration outcome continues. This is seen as separate but has a flow-on effect on each other and are interrelated. If there is a will to really tackle the topic, legislation is not enough as a deterrence to these perpetrators; something more has to be done about the exploitation of migrants.