9 Sep 2008

New Zealand Labour Department fine-tuning guest worker scheme

9:44 am on 9 September 2008

New Zealand's Labour Department is promising there will be regular checks to ensure the welfare of the thousands of workers brought to this country under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

The scheme is about to start its second year after a first 12 months deemed mostly successful, though there were issues, not least I-Kiribati absconding and others returning home in debt.

The Labour Department's group manager for immigration policy, Lesley Haines, says in the second year most employers and workers will have had experience with the scheme.

Ms Haines says the department will also make sure its providing the best possible service.

"There'll be checks before workers arrive. We try to meet all the workers when they arrive. And there'll also be regular checks. What we are hoping is that where people have concerns that the department is provided with specific information as quickly as possible. Every complaint we've had, our labour inspectors were able to make an initial response within 24 hours."

Lesley Haines