Il­le­gal tradies de­ported

The Timaru Herald - - FASHION&BEAUTY - MADI­SON REIDY

Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand wants con­struc­tion firms to check the le­git­i­macy of their con­tracted work­ers af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­veiled a web of il­le­gal Malaysian work­ers.

Im­mi­gra­tion NZ car­ried out raids and home searches to dis­man­tle 10 tiling, paint­ing, dec­o­rat­ing and gib-stop­ping labour sup­ply com­pa­nies smug­gling work­ers to New Zealand un­der false iden­ti­ties.

The large-scale in­ves­ti­ga­tion, dubbed Op­er­a­tion Spec­trum, re­sulted in 54 de­por­ta­tions and at least three pros­e­cu­tions. An­other 85 il­le­gal work­ers have been stopped at the border since May last year.

Im­mi­gra­tion NZ area man­ager Alis­tair Mur­ray said when the sites were raided by im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials, many work­ers tried to es­cape or hid in stair­wells and ceil­ing cav­i­ties.

Mur­ray would not name the con­tract­ing com­pa­nies or the build­ing sites they worked on.

Now the raids had ended, and work­ers and their smug­glers had been ‘‘picked off’’, large con­struc­tion firms were be­ing urged to check the le­git­i­macy of their con­tracted work­ers amid a labour sup­ply short­age and build­ing boom, he said.

Im­mi­gra­tion wanted to en­cour­age the ‘‘top end of the con­struc­tion con­tract tree’’ to clean up ‘‘their own back­yard’’, he said.

Con­struc­tion firms should be li­able for un­law­ful work­ers on their site, just as they are li­able for health and safety, he said.

Mur­ray said he had no doubt that the con­struc­tion in­dus­try’s labour short­age had en­cour­aged il­le­gal work­ers.

‘‘Th­ese peo­ple could not have been able to op­er­ate with out the de­mand.’’

PHOTO: TETSURO MITOMO/STUFF

The New Zealand Rodeo and Cow­boys As­so­ci­a­tion says rodeo spon­sors have been bul­lied and ha­rassed by an­i­mal ac­tivists.

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