Three Auckland restaurants have been ordered to pay nearly $200,000 for not providing minimum wage or holiday pay to 132 mostly migrant student employees.

The three restaurants - Gengy's Mongolian BBQ Buffet, Kushi Takeaways and Kushi Restaurant - would be placed on the "stand down list", preventing them from sponsoring new visas to recruit migrant labour for 12, 18, and 24 months respectively, according to a statement from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) ordered the restaurants to pay $99,000 in penalties for failing to provide minimum wage and correct holiday pay, as well as $97,000 in arrears to the 132 employees.

"The vast majority of these workers were migrant students doing part-time or casual work waitressing, bar tending, or in the kitchen," said Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne.


"Migrant workers have all the same employment rights as Kiwi workers, and there are no acceptable excuses for employers to fail to meet all their obligations under New Zealand employment law."

All three companies share the same sole director and shareholder, Wonki (Monty) Cho.

The ERA determination comes as the Labour Inspectorate begins a crackdown on the hospitality sector.

"Unfortunately, what we're finding in our initial visits is widespread non-compliance in the hospitality sector and these employers are set to face consequences," Milne said.

"Any employer not familiar with their obligations, such as paying time-and-a-half and providing an alternative day off for employees who work on public holidays, should get up to speed now."

Failure to meet obligations could mean stiff penalties, restricted access to migrant labour, not to mention damage to the reputation of the business.