A verdict of the Employment Court in New Zealand has revealed the manner in which immigrants are exploited by the employers. The case pertains to Hardeep Singh and other immigrant Indian students who were working under terrible work conditions in their attempts to secure the residency in New Zealand.
Harpal Bola, one more Indian student in the case worked for more than two months with no leave and was not allowed to meet a doctor even when he suffered from an infection.
The verdict of the Employment Court also stated that when another student Harbaldeep Singh fell sick and took two days leave, his salary was deducted. When he asked for his owner Dilbag Singh Bal to increase the salary or give paid leaves, Bal threatened to get his work authorization canceled. Bal owns dairies and liquor stores across the South Island.
Graeme Colgan, the chief judge who heads the court also observed that Bal was earlier sentenced to detention for a period of nine months in diverse cases related to immigration and exploitation of six different workers. Preet PVT Limited and Warrington Discount Tobacco Limited, the two firms involved in the case were imposed a penalty of 100,000 dollars for intentionally paying low salaries to their staff.
The verdict of the court also highlighted that the immigrant students were termed as managers in order to fulfill immigration requirements. In reality, however, they were working nothing more than store assistants who were dependent on the job for continuing their provisional work authorization.
The consequence was that the employers were in a position to exercise control over the immigrants in New Zealand as they determined the continuance of the immigrant’s legal stay.
The employers often emphasized this fact very clearly to the employees that the former enjoyed this power over the immigrants.
The immigrant workers remained tolerant of all the poor conditions of work and pay in hopes of securing better job some day and eventually the permanent residency in New Zealand for them and their families.
Danae Anderson, the researcher at the AUT commerce school who has examined around 483 overseas students as a part of her Doctoral degree has said that this mindset of students to compromise in hope of securing permanent residency in New Zealand results in continuation of exploitation.
The majority of the students with whom she had interacted were aware of the fact that they were paid less and had to work for more hours in diverse ways, but they considered this as inevitable to secure their permanent residency in New Zealand.
The verdict of the court comes in the wake of increase in the number of exploitation of immigrant workers that had encouraged the Government of New Zealand to bring in stricter punishments for erring employers.
The case that was in the huge limelight, pertained to the owners of Auckland’s Masala Indian group of hotels. This firm paid as meager as 3 dollars per hour to their workers.