Chinese workers’ officers, visa approvals must be reviewed – lawyer

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An investigation of 10 illegal Chinese workers is also expected to determine whether corrupt agents and officials helped them obtain visas, according to an immigration lawyer.

Photo: 123rf

The men, who worked in construction, are being evicted for fear of being exploited or trafficked.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi previously said it was an operational matter.

“We were assured that the proper processes were followed and Immigration NZ found no evidence of trafficking,” Faafoi said.

“The agencies are pleased that further investigations into employment and immigration violations can be conducted without the men needing to stay in New Zealand.”

Lawyer Matt Robson called this “absurd” because witnesses would be the basis of any lawsuit against companies or individuals.

None of the men had undergone in-depth interviews with the Labor Inspectorate or Immigration New Zealand, he said.

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In fact, the labor inspector had requested information from their lawyer and the union, but Robson said they did not have the resources or access to the prison to interview 10 men with interpreters.

Robson suggested the two agencies could work against the grain and said the investigation should focus on workers’ agents here and in China.

“When they came to the airport in New Zealand, they had someone to meet them, they had people in China who prepared everything,” he said. “All they did was pay the money, sign whatever they were asked to sign and provide the documents that were asked of them.

“But they have no knowledge of the process – they needed these agents even in Auckland to survive, they needed people to house them, transport them to their various jobs.”

One of the deportees, who escaped from a police car en route to the airport, wanted to get his wages and his belongings back, Robson said.

He had unbuckled his seatbelt at the traffic lights, hid, then followed landmarks to Dominion Road, before handing himself over to the police.

The visa process raised questions of possible corruption, Robson said.

“The workers that I saw – the majority seem to have obtained their visas within two days of applying, this is what is stated on the immigration sheets, and one of them lasted six days, but all are only at lightning speed for Immigration New Zealand.

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“I have been an immigration lawyer for many decades, never had a visa, a regular visa, during this period, and some of them have the option to enter and exit for five years, which is another unheard of for a person to come here.

“So that’s a major issue, the chain from China to New Zealand and the agents here. The minister talked about a full investigation – well, you can’t have a full investigation if you kick them out. witnesses of the country. “

Faafoi and Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood have been contacted for comment.

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