A Government ministry is vowing to ramp up its response to illegal wage breaches in response to a ONE News investigation.
Last night, ONE News reported some small business owners in Auckland are profiting from desperate overseas workers by offering work for as little as $8 an hour.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said enforcers will be moving to crack down on businesses breaching labour laws.
Under proposed measures, workplaces can now expect on the spot labour checks as well as tougher penalties for illegal practices.
"We'll certainly be stepping up our efforts well above what it is now," deputy chief executive Lesley Haines said.
"What we're looking at doing is mobilising resources from around the country...working with immigration officers, labour inspectors and speakers of community languages, and going into areas where there are particular issues," said Haines.
The Ministry has previously relied on employees to report dodgy bosses, but some immigration experts say migrant employees may be too scared to report below minimum wage pay for fear of losing their visas.
"The majority of migrants, they don't raise disputes, they don't make complaints," employment advocate May Moncur said.
"They worry about whether they can legally stay in this country."
Liquor store worker Arjun Krishnan is facing deportation after he reported his boss for paying him $6 an hour.
He said he admitted to working more hours than his student visa allowed because his wages were so low.
"I did think I would be safe because they did promise me I would be safe," said Krishnan.
"This is the reason nobody comes forward. I don't want any other immigrant showing this courage and getting in trouble like me."
Krishnan has been told he should not expect a new visa when his temporary student visa expires next week.
The Department of Labour is also vowing to review the migration status of employers who break labour laws.