Exploited dreams: Young migrant workers in despair after paying fortune for security jobs - only to be made redundant

Ten young migrant workers say they're struggling to pay rent and relying on free food, after suddenly losing their jobs as security officers.

The men feel exploited, claiming they paid between $50,000 and $70,000 to Indian agents for the jobs but were made redundant just months into a three-year contract.

Adding insult to their predicament, Newshub has obtained video of one of the men's managers who swears and laughs at them.

In a flat in Auckland's Manurewa, there's a sense of fear and dread about what the future holds for these men.

Working in New Zealand was the dream. Their reality now is one of desperation.

"I'm feeling like totally blank. Like, I'm just 22 and I have to go through these types of things," they told Newshub.

"We came here for a better future, but our future is going in dark."

Dark because their jobs, which they paid thousands to Indian agents to secure, have suddenly evaporated.

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One told Newshub he paid $70,000 to come to New Zealand for his job, while another said he paid approximately $56,000.

It was for work as security officers at Auckland-based company, S.E.A.L Security.

Out of work and money, they've turned to the local Sikh community for food.

"I don't have enough money to spend on food, to get some food and groceries and pay the rent as well," one said.

The migrants.
The migrants. Photo credit: Newshub

Adding to their anguish, they received a videoed tirade from S.E.A.L Security manager Sukhpinder Singh in which he yells at the men.

"And he abusing all employees, 'f*** your mum, f*** your sister'," one of the migrants reported.

Singh told Newshub he was upset as the men accused him of taking money.

"I was swearing at the people who was saying that I have taken money. I was angry, I was swearing," he said.

The workers say they paid money to Singh's relative and his associates in India. Singh admitted his relative did help recruit workers but knew nothing of money changing hands.

"No, I was not involved in that and have nothing to do with that."

S.E.A.L Security manager Sukhpinder Singh.
S.E.A.L Security manager Sukhpinder Singh. Photo credit: Newshub

Employment contracts state pay was $27.76 an hour, but they all say they got less than this. And it was supposed to be long-term work. One migrant said it was a three-year contract, but they only worked for nine months.

Three days before Christmas, 20 workers received a redundancy letter from company director Chetan Kumar saying "there is no work that I am able to offer you given all the work hours that we have lost".

"As a result, your role is redundant, with your last day of employment being today," it read.

Through his lawyer, Kumar denied underpaying the men and denied any knowledge of vast sums of money being paid to agents in India.

He said deductions were made to workers' pay, but this was for rent, immigration and lawyer fees and for their uniforms. He claimed this was agreed to verbally with the men. The workers deny this.

The workers said the money gathered to secure the jobs came from high-interest loans, parents and relatives.

"Now the relatives are asking to my parents, 'what about the money?'" one told Newshub.

That's a question these men have been unable to answer, fearing they've been dealt a curve ball which was all part of an elaborate manipulation.

Chetan Kumar told Newshub the men are making up "false allegations" and he denies any wrongdoing.

He sent Newshub an email on Sunday from a former worker who stated the claims by the men were all part of an effort to extort money from the company.

However, Newshub contacted the former worker who wrote the email. He said he felt scared and was pressured to write the email and was paid $7000 by  S.E.A.L Security to do it.

Newshub also has audio recordings with Kumar asking the worker to write the email if he wants the money, and text messages verifying the transaction.

However Kumar claims he simply gave the worker this money to help him out when he left the country to work in Canada.