Nearly 100 employers stripped of accreditation after abusing migrant visa scheme

Nearly 100 employers have now been stripped of their accreditation for abusing the troubled Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme.  

It comes after Newshub discovered another group of migrants in a property in south Auckland, who now find themselves in the middle of a fresh Immigration New Zealand investigation.  

The complaints and the investigations have kept coming since August, and those on the coalface have said more of the same can be expected.   

"There are really bad, bad people out there who for a really long time have been wreaking havoc in the migrant communities," Union Network of Migrants' Mike Santos said.  

Ninety-four employers behind the immigration cases have now had their accreditation revoked.  

Thirty-four Immigration investigators are currently picking through more than 370 probes - that's more than 10 cases per staff member - 202 of which are directly tied to the troubled Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme.   

"Not only in Auckland but we feel it is happening nationwide," Santos stressed.  

One of Immigration's latest investigations centre on a property in south Auckland can now be revealed after Newshub's visit in October.  

Inside, there were more than a dozen Filipino and Vietnamese nationals, a kitchen crammed with dishes and washing hanging around the property.   

The courtyard of the property had a horrible smell and rubbish was strewn throughout the garden. The only English speaker, migrant worker Victor Ridon, used to live at the property. He was granted an accredited employer visa in May but said not enough work was provided.   

"I was disappointed, because the job role that was stated in my employment contract isn't the same as what he asked me to do." 

Newshub reached out to the employer, who's also given jobs to several other men living at the same property. He denied Ridon's allegations and claimed he walked off the job in August.   

However, Ridon said that was not the case.   

He said he was ready, willing and able to work but the job dried up and some of his wages hadn't been paid.   

"It's miserable, it's hell," he exclaimed.  

But the employer told Newshub he's the victim of malicious unfounded allegations, adding all his evidence is with officials.   

When pressed about other employees not being paid, he conceded his companies had faced cashflow issues, delaying some wages.   

Meanwhile, Ridon has received a letter from Immigration New Zealand, saying he's eligible for an exploitation visa and that it's credible exploitation may have occurred.  

"We came here to have a better opportunity, provide a better life for our family back home," he said.  

This latest mess is just one of hundreds that investigators must untangle.  

"Well, somebody has dropped the ball - the due diligence and screening I think it was not done properly," Santos said.