Filipino dairy workers helped by law change
Law changes protecting Filipino immigrants coming to work in dairying have had ‘‘nothing but positive response from both Kiwi farm owners and Filipino employees,’’ a recruitment adviser says.
Cross Country Recruitment managing director Ben De’Ath said the law changes were brought in to protect Filipino workers, and give New Zealand employers greater certainty of the quality of the incoming worker they were hiring.
He said after a few Christchurch instances where Filipino construction workers were not getting their contracted hours and were being housed inadequately, law changes were put into effect.
The changes were implemented by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in Manila to ensure workers were not being exploited while overseas. This lets the Philippines government hold employers who did not keep their end of the deal in terms of providing the hours and housing they were obliged to under the employment contract, to account.
The law change also meant the Philippines could place restrictions on whether individuals could leave the country, regardless of whether they have an approved work visa. One of those restrictions is that each potential immigrant must be attached to a legally incorporated or accredited company with establishments in New Zealand and in the Philippines.
Farmers need to be aware of this as they could go to significant efforts filing Immigration NZ paperwork and getting a visa, only to have their employee stopped from leaving the Philippines, De’Ath said.
New Zealand farmers can go through a process to become legally incorporated but it requires accreditation of the farming business itself via the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) which is located in Australia.
Amid the current migration boom of Filipinos entering the New Zealand dairy industry, De’Ath said Immigration NZ has been applying greater scrutiny in the assessment of Filipinos with Philippine farm experience.
‘‘Farmers trying to comply with these legislative requirements on their own might struggle to get prospective employee’s employment history verified.’’
There had also been issues with a handful of Filipinos exaggerating how much farming experience they had, which had also factored into the clamp down.
Cross Country Recruitment, which has a one-man office in Manila, two experienced dairy farmers, a former lawyer in De’Ath and the two regional representatives who also have dairy industry experience in their ranks, specialise in entrance and mid-level position placement in the New Zealand farming sector, with particular focus in the Waikato region.
Cross Country Recruitment’s managing director Ben De’Ath.