Saturday, June 15, 2024

Dunedin man fined $11,900 over illegal workers

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has welcomed the conviction and sentencing of a Dunedin businessman for employing people not entitled to work in Aotearoa.

Leisheng (Leonard) Cheng was convicted in the Dunedin District Court on Monday and fined $11,900.

Mr Cheng pleaded guilty to three offences under sections 350(1)(a) of the Immigration Act 2009 and 66 of the Crimes Act 1961, which carry a maximum penalty of $50,000 per offence.

The charges related to:

  • 1 person undertaking employment who did not hold a visa to be in New Zealand and was unlawfully in New Zealand;
  • 1 person who was working on a student visa and exceeded the maximum 20 hours work per week; and
  • 1 person who was working while on a visitor visa.

Mr Cheng owns a number of hospitality businesses in Dunedin and was operating Great Taste restaurant in Dunedin at the time the offences took place. All three people related to the charges were working at Great Taste between 2016 and 2018.

National Manager Immigration Investigations, Stephanie Greathead says Mr Cheng has supported numerous staff in visa applications and is familiar with the immigration system.

“It was his responsibility as company director to employ staff at Great Taste Restaurant and ensure they held the appropriate visas that legally entitled them to work,” Ms Greathead says.

“Cheng failed in his director responsibilities and knowingly employed staff who were not eligible to work in New Zealand.

“This offending is serious and won’t be tolerated. Cheng deliberately evaded the immigration system and a prosecution was the appropriate avenue in this case.

“This conviction should send a strong warning to the business community that this offending will be prosecuted and immigration visa rules need to be adhered to,” she said.

INZ encourages anyone who is aware of immigration fraud to report it immediately.

Cases can be reported to MBIE’s contact centre on 0800 20 90 20. Alternatively, they can be reported to police or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via the online Crimestoppers form.

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