Valuing Diversity: The Importance of Providing Support for Migrant Workers in New Zealand

Employers in New Zealand have legal obligations to provide a safe environment for migrant workers to improve productivity and reputation.
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Last Updated On June 4, 2023
Contributors: Denise Renshaw. Edited By Simar Singh & Reviewed by Yongtian Liu.

New Zealand is a country with a growing economy, and it relies on migrant workers to sustain various industries. Migrant workers are a vital component of the workforce, and they help fill critical gaps in industries that are facing a shortage of skilled workers. These workers come from different backgrounds and bring unique skills that contribute to the economy.

However, there have been concerns about the treatment of migrant workers in New Zealand. It is important for employers to take care of their migrant workers to ensure their well-being and also improve productivity.

Legal Obligations of Employers

Employers in New Zealand have legal obligations to provide their employees with a safe and healthy work environment. This includes migrant workers. Employers must provide adequate training and information about their rights and responsibilities, including health and safety procedures. Employers must also ensure that migrant workers receive the same wages and benefits as New Zealand workers doing the same job. Employers must also comply with employment laws, such as minimum wage rates and holiday pay entitlements.

Benefits of Taking Care of Migrant Workers

Employers who take care of their migrant workers benefit in many ways. Firstly, it creates a positive working environment where workers feel valued and respected. This can lead to increased productivity and lower staff turnover rates. Migrant workers who feel valued are more likely to stay with their employers and contribute to the success of the company. Additionally, taking care of migrant workers can also improve the company's reputation.

Customers and stakeholders are more likely to support companies that demonstrate ethical practices and a commitment to social responsibility.

Challenges Faced by Migrant Workers

Migrant workers face many challenges when working in New Zealand. They may struggle with language barriers, cultural differences, and adjusting to a new environment. Migrant workers may also experience discrimination or exploitation by their employers, particularly if they are unaware of their rights. This can lead to mental health issues such as stress and anxiety. Employers must recognize these challenges and take steps to support their migrant workers. This can include providing language classes, cultural training, and mental health support services.

Practical Steps for Employers

Employers can take practical steps to ensure they are taking care of their migrant workers. Firstly, they can provide language support services to help migrant workers understand their job requirements and integrate into the workplace. Employers can also provide cultural training to help workers understand the values and customs of New Zealand society. This can also help to create a more inclusive workplace that celebrates diversity. Additionally, employers can provide mental health support services, such as counseling or employee assistance programs, to help migrant workers cope with the challenges of working in a new environment.


Migrant workers are an essential part of the New Zealand workforce, and employers have a responsibility to take care of their workers. Employers who take care of their migrant workers benefit from increased productivity, improved reputation, and a more positive workplace environment. Employers can take practical steps to support their migrant workers, such as providing language support, cultural training, and mental health support services. By taking care of their migrant workers, employers can create a more inclusive and supportive workplace that benefits everyone.