Between 2016 and 2022, demand for construction-related occupations is projected to increase by approximately 56,000 employees. Temporary workers provided by third party labour hire agencies have long been used to meet resource demands in the construction industry. Now, many of these workers are temporary migrant workers required to meet these demands. However, in recent years cases of migrant construction workers stranded in New Zealand have hit the headlines. In March this year, New Zealanders became especially attuned to the vulnerability of permanent and temporary migrants.
This essay examines how the regulation of triangular employment relationships may address the exploitation of temporary workers and, in particular, the emerging issue of the exploitation of temporary migrant workers in the construction industry, which media and stakeholders are increasingly turning their attention to. It then turns to consider how the Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019 may impact industry participants, particularly those who have never factored in these kinds of risks before.