From November 1, the Ministry of Internal Affairs will no longer be required to check employment contracts before it issues a foreign worker’s permit.
This responsibility is being placed on the parties of the employment contract, or their legal representative. For the past several years, the Immigration Office has required the vetting of employment contracts by the Labour Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs before a foreign worker’s permit has been issued to ensure that the contract meets minimum legal employment requirements. This review of contracts by the Ministry of Internal Affairs is not a legal requirement of the Employment Relations Act 2012, or the previous Cook Islands Labour Ordinance 1966. This change reflects that the scrutiny of employment contracts is the primary responsibility of the employer and the worker. The Government does not have a direct role in that relationship. For the past month, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration have been advising employers that the current service of reviewing contracts through the Ministry of Internal Affairs is being phased out and will be discontinued from 1 November 2014. Employers and workers will need to seek independent legal advice in future regarding the legality of their employment contracts within the laws set out in the Employment Relations Act 2012. The Ministry of Internal Affairs will continue to provide information on the Cook Islands Employment Relations Act 2012. Further information on employment related information can be found at www.intaff.gov.ck. - Govt Release