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Student amnesty a smokescreen: Peters

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/08/2016

An amnesty for foreign students who report exploitative employers is a cover-up for a Labour inspectorate that's failing to do it's job, NZ First leader Winston Peters says.

Newshub is quoting Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse as saying the students might be unwilling to speak up because they're scared they've breached their visa conditions.

"I'm sympathetic to that situation - I think people should speak up anyway," he said.

"Our target would be the exploitative employers, not the student.

"They wouldn't get favour in terms of their visa situation, but they wouldn't be punished for something that they themselves may not have been in breach of."

The exploitative employer issue is running alongside a scam involving India-based agents gaining visas for students based on false documentation.

Many Indian students are reported to be facing deportation because of the scam.

There have also been numerous reports of students being paid below the minimum wage.

Mr Peters says it's the government's job to find corrupt employers.

"We have been told of a young woman who was asked to pay $30,000 to a cafe owner in Auckland to secure a low-paid job," he said.

"Unscrupulous employers took advantage of the government's decision two years ago to extend the work rights of foreign students - this enabled many to borrow to come to New Zealand knowing they would be able to work to pay back loans."

Mr Peters says the amnesty is "nothing more than a smokescreen to obscure a severely under-resourced and inadequate Labour inspectorate."

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