Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Filipino tradesmen meet NZ MBIE officials for a seminar on NZ Labour and Immigration Laws

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Around 100 Filipino tradesmen met with the officials from the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for a seminar on NZ labour, immigration and other relevant laws. The seminar was held on June 6, 2015 (Saturday), 3pm, at the Christchurch Cricket Pavilion, Hagley Oval, Christchurch.

The MBIE, through Ms. Janine Parsons, Area Manager for Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin of the Immigration New Zealand, and in collaboration with the officers of the Association of Filipino Tradesmen in New Zealand, Inc. and the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, arranged for an orientation/seminar for all Filipino tradesmen mainly to educate the workers with regards their rights and responsibilities as migrant workers vis-à-vis the New Zealand labour laws, visa requirements and the Immigration Act.

Mr. Brian Lester, Regional Programme Director of the Labour Inspectorate, spearheaded the said seminar. “The activity today is to ensure that Filipino workers who are coming over here to help with rebuilding the city know fully their rights and also their obligations and are treated fairly with respect. Hopefully the key message we want to get through today was that workers have the full rights of any New Zealand resident workers as well. Similarly, we are aware that accommodation issues can come through from time to time and so consequently, we have Fiona from the Tenancy Services here to help explain what are your rights and obligations are there. We are very grateful for the opportunity to come along and talk and so we had information sharing but it’s also about ensuring that if you have a problem, you know where to go, we are here to help you”, said Mr. Lester.

Various topics were discussed during the said seminar. Mr. Steve Jones, Assistant Area Manager-Visa Services talked about Immigration - Understanding your visa, Canterbury Rebuild proposed changes, Labour on Hire company accreditation and work to residency. Ms. Faye-Maree Francis, Business Relationship Advisor discussed settling in New Zealand. Mr. David Campbell, Area Manager-Compliance spoke about Visa compliance and investigation. Mr. Stu Lumsden, Regional Manager- Labour Inspectorate and Ms. Bridget Zonneveld, Labour Inspector, discussed Employment Laws and Protection. Lastly, Fiona Buchan-Ng, Mediator- Resolution Services talked about Tenancy Rights.

The seminar was also a venue for Filipino workers/tradesmen to seek clarifications directly from the MBIE officials themselves. During the tea and coffee break, the workers were able to talk to the officials on an individual basis which made it more comfortable for some of the workers to discuss their individual concerns.

“I am very thankful to the MBIE officers for giving their time and efforts to educate us Filipino tradesmen in relation to our rights and responsibilities as migrant workers. I truly appreciate their efforts especially that this event fell on a Saturday. I could not thank MBIE enough for adjusting their schedules just to make this seminar a reality. In addition, I would like to thank the Philippine Embassy in Wellington through our very hardworking Ambassador, Hon. Benavidez, for serving us our bridge in contacting the officials from MBIE. I am also happy that Mr. Peter Wait, Philippine Embassy Honorary Consul in Christchurch attended today’s seminar to show his support”, said Mr. Quina, Chairman of AFTNZI.

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