An Auckland grocer has been penalised $12,000 by the Employment Relations Authority for attempting to exploit a migrant worker.

In a media release today, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said a Labour Inspectorate investigation uncovered attempts to charge a migrant worker $20,000 in exchange for supporting the employee's visas.

Raw N Fresh Limited and director Amardeep Singh demanded a newly employed shop manager pay $20,000, later lowered to $18,000 in order to support his visa.

The employee refused to pay both times and instead quit his job and reported the incident to the Labour Inspectorate. The employee will get half of the $12,000 penalty.

Advertisement

"Employers who exploit vulnerable workers by making them pay premiums in exchange for a job breach New Zealand law, and it will not be tolerated," Labour Inspectorate regional manager Loua Ward said.

"This practice takes advantage of migrants who may not be aware of all their rights and entitlements in New Zealand, or may not feel like they have any other option."

"We understand it can be difficult for employees to come forward and raise concerns about the way they are being treated by an employer.

"The Labour Inspectorate takes these matters very seriously and is part of an all-of-government approach to combating migrant exploitation in its various forms."