Migrants will pay the penalty

Proposed penalties against employers who hire illegal migrants will lead to more racial discrimination in this country, Green Party Immigration spokesperson, Keith Locke warned today.

The provision to penalise employers up to $10,000 is contained in the Transnational Organised Crime bill, tabled in Parliament today.

“In practice, employers are likely to shy away from hiring new migrants, or people from countries they think produce a lot of overstayers,” said Mr Locke.

“They are more likely to go for the easy option of just hiring New Zealand-born applicants, or people who have been here for a long time, rather than risk a penalty of $10,000 for employing a newcomer who might not have the correct documentation.”

New migrants already found it difficult to get jobs in New Zealand, and now they looked like being further disadvantaged.

“It is not as if New Zealand is being flooded with illegal immigrants,” said Mr Locke. “So why put employers through the hassle of checking the immigration status of prospective workers, if the practical result is more racial discrimination?

“This measure impacts too negatively on race relations in New Zealand for the Greens to support it.”