A man who claimed his employer underpaid him not only lost his case but inadvertently alerted Immigration New Zealand to the fact he lied about a job to get a work visa.

The Employment Relation Authority has alerted Immigration New Zealand to the "sham" employment agreement likely designed to mislead Immigration New Zealand into granting the Korean man a work visa.

Young Goo Kang took his the director of his former workplace NZMEC, a company set up to host Korean students during their school holidays, to the Employment Relations Authority, claiming it had not paid him for five months and owed him holiday pay.

But during its investigation into his claims, the ERA found that Kang and his long-time friend and director of NZMEC Kyoung Lee had hoodwinked the Government into granting Kang a work visa in March 2017 by creating a non-existent office manager role at NZMEC for him.


But instead of alerting INZ to the fact that there wasn't a job for him, Lee agreed to pay Kang a salary so it didn't raise INZ's suspicions.

In return Kang gave Lee an Eftpos card to his account so he could pay for personal expenses with it as a way of getting his money back.

Kang instead started working with his wife in a sushi shop but in June 2017 began part-time work as a guide for NZMEC.

In January 2018 he started working there full-time until he was dismissed in November 2018.

The company was placed in liquidation in December 2018.

It was in the last five months of his employment at NZMEC that Kang claimed he was not paid - although Lee disputed this.

The ERA inspected Kang's bank statements and found Kang's claims to be untrue and that the company had overpaid him by more than $7000.

Kang's claim he was owed holiday pay was also dismissed.


In her findings ERA member Jenni-Maree Trotman found NZMEC did not owe Kang any money.

However due to the "sham employment agreement" set up by the pair she directed the authority to provide a copy of the determination to INZ and to NZMEC's liquidator.

Kang's application was dismissed and costs were reserved.

However Kang's lawyer Seungmin Kang said they believed the ERA had made a "significant error of facts" and was appealing the decision at the Employment Court.

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