The District Court has recently ordered two employers to complete six months of community detention and pay $124,000 after they committed serious breaches of employee rights against migrant workers.

The employers underpaid their migrant workers for a period of five years, and made illegal deductions from their pay. The employers deducted pay from the workers after initially increasing their wages to meet their visa requirements.

The employers were also found guilty of failing to meet holiday pay requirements.

The Court charged the employers with failing to meet the legal requirements of New Zealand immigration and employment law.

In 2022, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment received over 1,000 complaints of exploitation from migrant workers. The Government has recently implemented measures to mitigate the risk of exploitation, such as new visa requirements and increased measures of reporting exploitation.

Under employment law, it is illegal for an employer to deduct wages from an employee without their permission. Employers are also required to pay at least the minimum wage and meet the requirements of holiday pay under the law.

In this case, the employers failed to pay the workers the minimum wage or give the workers their holiday pay entitlements, as well as making illegal deductions from their pay.

The Court ordered the employers to pay $124,000 in reparations to the migrant workers and sentenced the employers to six months community detention.

Migrant worker exploitation is a serious issue in New Zealand. If you believe you are being treated unfairly, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors