Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Government agencies are set to discuss next week relaxing current strict regulations on foreign caregiver applications, a Council of Labor Affairs official said Tuesday.
Lin San-quei said that the issue of long-term caregiving is plagued with problems, such as the heavy restrictions on applying for foreign caregivers, the high cost of hiring local caregivers, the lack of healthcare centers and other complicated issues that will require discussion by the Department of Health, the Ministry of the Interior and the council.
Lin, director-general of the council's Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training, said the relevant government organizations will hold meetings and negotiations next week to discuss applicants' age restrictions and ways of determining disabilities.
According to a report in the China Times newspaper published April 11,the director-general pointed out that 52 percent of those applying for 24-hour foreign caregivers were aged above 80, and that even those in this age group that did not require full-time care suffered a certain degree of disability.
The council is considering whether to allow all senior citizens over 80 to become eligible for hiring foreign caregivers, the report added.
The council decided April 11 to start easing regulations for applying for foreign caregivers, either by changing the rules on age or using a disability measurement other than the currently used Barthel index.
Under this system, a person has to be almost unable to take care of himself or herself on a daily basis to be eligible to apply, said Hsin Ping-lung, a professor at National Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of National Development.
Premier Sean Chen instructed the council a day later to address the caregiving issue from the perspectives of the long-term development of the caregiving system, protecting the jobs of local workers, and reducing the impact on families that already employ foreign caregivers.
(By Zoe Wei and C.J. Lin)