A ‘strong signal’ has been sent to employers following the sentencing of a takeaway and pizza delivery store for unlawfully employing a worker and aiding a person to breach visa conditions.
The company that operated the Pizza Hut store in Hastings, TNRLNZ Ltd, was convicted and fined $2,000 at the Auckland District Court of a charge under the Immigration Act for unlawfully employing a worker.
Mahipal Reddy Kolan, the director of TNRLNZ Ltd, was also convicted and fined $1,500 after seeking discharge without conviction, arguing that a conviction may jeopardise his franchises.
The worker who breached his visa conditions left the country in September 2017.
Judge Noel Sainsbury said he did not consider there was a “real and appreciable risk” that any franchise would be jeopardised for an offence of this nature although he accepted there was a degree of uncertainty.
Judge Sainsbury also said that even if it did, Kolan could pursue other business opportunities.
He added that if the defendant was breaching the law relating to foreign workers, it was not his job to protect Kolan from the consequences of his action.
“The fines were really only incidental, it was the convictions that would bite,” said Judge Sainsbury.
Moreover, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy said New Zealand businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure that their employees are legally entitled to work for them.
“Kolan shows a regard only for himself, entering a guilty plea to the charge, and yet swearing and filing an affidavit denying the offending,” said Devoy.
“This was in order to avoid a conviction impacting his current Subway franchise, having sold the pizza franchise after the offence.
“We hope this sentence sends a strong signal that we will take action against employers and others who assist employers to employ workers who are not entitled to work for them.”
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