A migrant worker claims he paid for jobs for both him and his wife to obtain immigration visas but is now fighting for 2300 hours of unpaid work after his wife ran away with the employer and had his baby.

The employer has denied all allegations against him, and his wife claims he was lying.

The man has taken his complaint to the Employment Relations Authority, claiming he was coerced into agreeing to pay $50,000 in installments by his employer for jobs for his wife to work as a grocery store manager. He has so far paid $34,000.

The man understood that as a store manager, his wife would be accepted as qualifying for skilled employment by Immigration NZ, and this would allow them to meet the requirements for being granted a residence visa under the skilled migrant category.

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Man claims he was asked to pay $50,000 for a store manager job offer for his wife so they could apply for a visa under the skilled migrant category. Photo / File.
Man claims he was asked to pay $50,000 for a store manager job offer for his wife so they could apply for a visa under the skilled migrant category. Photo / File.

An Expression of Interest for a residence visa under the category was lodged and accepted on March 21 last year, with the wife as the principal applicant.

The man, who did not want to be named, worked with his wife at the store for 98 hours a week but was unpaid while she was paid for 35 hours but has to return the pay.

Subsequently, the employer arranged for the man to work at a Kiwi fruit orchard, so he could have "the freedom to ... make sexual advances on his wife", according to the complaint.

The employer succeeded in his advances to the extent that the man's wife became pregnant with his child, left her marriage and moved in with the employer.

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"The (employer) convinced the complainant's wife that she should leave her husband and live with him because he could guarantee her that she would be able to obtain the grant of a residence visa, as his partner," it was alleged in the complaint.

The woman gave birth to a boy earlier this year, and the employer is said to be the father of the child.

The man was advised by Immigration NZ that his wife had informed the agency that she was no longer living with him in a marriage or partnership relationship, meaning he will not be linked to her application for residency.

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He estimates that he had worked about 2321 hours without pay at the grocery shop and is now seeking the return of the $34,000 he has paid so far for the purchase of the job offer and $40,000 for the work he has done.

The man was also seeking "an appropriate amount of compensation for the
hurt, loss of dignity, humiliation and anguish".

The employer denied the allegations and claimed the man was lying. The wife also claimed the man had lied and that she had been "tortured" by him.

The employer's lawyer said his client denied all allegations made and that they considered the man had engaged in "blackmail" tactics to illegally extort monies from the employer.

He accepted the employer had received payment for providing the job offer, but the amount paid was disputed.

In a letter dated January 10, the lawyer said his clients considered the allegations "to be vexatious and an attempt at extortion".

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The matter is now before the Employment Relations Authority.