20 Sep 2011

Rasmussen says foreign worker complaints in Cooks on the rise

1:36 pm on 20 September 2011

The Cook Islands Deputy Opposition Leader Wilkie Rasmussen says complaints from foreign workers in the Cook Islands are increasing and the government needs to complete a review of immigration policy and tighten employment rules.

He says the Cook Islands needs foreign workers because of a labour shortage and there are an estimated 2,000 in the Islands at present, mostly from Fiji and the Philippines.

Mr Rasmussen says he's fielded several calls for advice from an increasingly vocal community.

"There are workers who were brought in to the country who've been passed on to other people because the employer doesn't want them any more. There are others who are overworked and others whose movements are fairly restricted because of the working hours and conditions they've got. There's quite a list."

Mr Rasmussen says the Employment Relations Bill, now at the consultation stage, does not go far enough to address the rights of foreign workers.