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Fine for Japanese sushi restaurant owner

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/12/2016
Rosanna Imai was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay an emotional harm payment of $5000 to her workers, while her company, Imai Japanese Food Services was fined $5000. © Mark Tantrum/Getty Images) Rosanna Imai was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay an emotional harm payment of $5000 to her workers, while her company, Imai Japanese Food Services was fined $5000.

A Filipino woman who exploited migrant workers in an Auckland restaurant has been fined in a case that highlights the principle that migrant workers have the same employment rights as other workers in New Zealand.

Rosanna Imai was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay an emotional harm payment of $5000 to her workers, while her company, Imai Japanese Food Services was fined $5000.

She was sentenced on seven charges in Auckland District Court on Friday. The charges included providing false and misleading information to an immigration officer and not paying the minimum wage.

"The overriding principle is that migrant workers have the same employment rights as all other workers in New Zealand," says INZ assistant general manager Peter Devoy.

"We will not tolerate employers who exploit migrant labour."

Imai recruited five Filipino workers through her company to come to New Zealand and work as Japanese chefs or sushi cooks. The workers were paid less than they were promised and were forced to work in excess of 60 hours per week. Between them they were underpaid more than $55,000 although compensation has now been paid to all five.

All five have current work visas to work elsewhere.

"We encourage anyone being forced to work in New Zealand illegally for less than the minimum wage and/or excessive hours to contact Immigration New Zealand or the Labour Inspectorate. People can also contact CrimeStoppers anonymously," Mr Devoy says.

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