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Immigration changes resulting from the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act

Information about immigration changes resulting from the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act.

21 December 2023
3 minute read

The Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act 2023 will come into effect on 6 January 2024. The Act introduces a suite of changes across the Employment Relations Act, the Immigration Act, and the Companies Act, to combat migrant exploitation.

The changes to the Immigration Act are:

  1. Requiring employers to provide employment-related documentation within 10 working days of it being requested by an immigration officer.
  2. Introducing 3 new immigration infringement offences. These are:
    • allowing a person who is not entitled under the Immigration Act to work in the employer’s service to do that work.
    • employing a person in a manner that is inconsistent with a work-related condition of that person’s visa.
    • failing to comply with a requirement to supply documents within 10 working days.
  3. Enabling the Chief Executive of MBIE to publish the names of employers who offend against the Immigration Act.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will not commence issuing infringement notices until changes to the immigration regulations have been made to prescribe the form of the infringement notice. This is subject to decisions by the new government. We will provide more information on how infringement notices will be implemented following the government’s decision, but we realise it is important to signal to employers of migrants that this change is coming in 2024.

Once the amended immigration regulations are in place to enable the issuing of infringement notices, MBIE will be able to issue them for offending that occurred before the regulations were in place (up to a max of 90 days previously, or 6 January 2024, whichever is later).

In most cases, the new infringement offences do not change employers’ obligations. Employers are already required to only employ people who hold a valid visa and in line with those visa conditions, as well as provide documents as part of post-decision checks under the Accredited Employer scheme. Adding infringement offences to the Act strengthens and standardises the sanction for non-compliance with these requirements.

MBIE will also not start publishing the names of non-compliant employers immediately on 6 January 2024. This power is intended to support the publication of an immigration stand-down list, where the names of non-compliant employers are published alongside a “stand-down” period, during which they are not able to support further visa applications.

The offences that will lead to a stand-down and the formula for calculating a stand-down period are still to be approved by the government. MBIE will not start publishing a stand-down list until these details are confirmed. We will provide more detail about how the stand-down list will be implemented following the government’s decisions.