Report reveals migrant exploitation

Workers stand tall in Auckland for migrant workers’ rights

Pay discrimination and poor housing are critical issues revealed in a report commissioned by E tū on the plight of migrant workers.

The report, entitled Migrant Filipino Workers in the Construction Industry, was launched at events in Auckland and Christchurch late last month.

Funded by the Industrial Relations Fund, the research records the experiences of migrants, mostly Filipino construction workers in Christchurch and Auckland in 2017 and 2018.

The average wage in construction is $29.00 – not one of the migrants interviewed was paid this, with some paid as little as $19.00 an hour.

“They are international workers with a lot of skill and experience,” said one migrant. “They have no other choice but just to grab it.”

The report reveals the workers were often placed in overpriced, over-crowded and unhealthy housing. In one case, up to 20 workers shared a four-bedroom house.

Many were being gouged by immigration companies, while most said their pay was too low to qualify for extended or permanent working visas or residency.

The report recommends Government action to close the pay gap, to ensure adequate housing for migrants, and to examine the problems they face with visas and immigration processes.