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Fruit contractor faces migrant exploitation charges Friday, 29 May 2015

A Tauranga based fruit farm labour contractor has appeared at the Tauranga District Court this morning on 32 charges under the Immigration Act 2009, including 12 relating to the exploitation of migrant workers.

It is alleged that between April and September last year Jafar Kurisi (also known as Md Wagid ALI), who is 51, employed workers who were not lawfully entitled to work, paid below the minimum wage, did not receive their holiday entitlements and were provided with accommodation and food that were of a very poor standard.

Six of the workers were Fijian nationals recruited in Fiji while the four others were already in New Zealand on visitor visas and working unlawfully.

The six Fijians have now all returned to Fiji but the four others are in New Zealand on valid working holiday visas.

Kurisi faces 10 charges of aiding and abetting the 10 workers to breach the conditions of their visas, six charges of failing to pay the entitlements outlined in the Holidays Act 2003 and six charges of failing to pay the minimum wage. The maximum penalty for all these offences is seven years’ imprisonment and / or a fine of $100,000.

He has also been charged with 10 counts of employing workers knowing that they were not entitled because of their immigration status to work.  The maximum penalty for each of these offences is a fine of $50,000.

Kurisi has been remanded on bail until his next court appearance on 19 June.

As the matter is now before the courts INZ is unable to provide any further comment.