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Migrants day celebration in Taiwan

2017/12/17 12:47:31

Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) International Migrants Day was celebrated in Taiwan on Sunday with a parade in Taipei featuring new immigrants and their children dressing in the traditional attire of their respected countries, showcasing the diverse cultures of the country.

Joined by 12 teams made of new immigrant families, migrant workers, and migrant support groups from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam, among others, the parade circled around downtown Taipei's 228 Memorial Peace Park to kick off the annual event.

It was followed by a series of music and dance performances by new immigrants and foreign nationals based in Taiwan.

"New immigrants are no longer a symbol for the underprivileged in Taiwan but a source of new power," Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) said during his address.

According to MOI statistics, the number of foreign spouses in Taiwan has surpassed 520,000. The nation also has more than 610,000 blue collar migrant workers and another 30,000 white collar workers.

"Now Taiwan is your family and new home," he added.

Under the principle of diversity, respect, love and care, Hua said the government has been launching a series of measures to better safeguard the rights and and ensure the welfare of new immigrants and their children.

Noting the government administration's "New Southbound Policy," aimed at deepening ties with countries in Southeast and South Asia, Hua pledged that the government will make every effort to encourage foreign nationals and new immigrants to stay in Taiwan to raise a family here.

New immigrants refer to foreign nationals who have moved to Taiwan after marrying a Taiwanese citizen or those who have come here to study or work.

In addition to the performances, there were also booths showcasing food and traditional artifacts from the immigrants' home countries.

Despite drizzling rain and an ongoing cold front, the International Migrant Day event was attended by more than 1,000 new immigrants, according to organizers. The half-day event is scheduled to conclude around noon.

Many blue collar migrants however do not have the right to stay here after their work contracts expire, and while working in Taiwan, they face unfair treatment, long hours and high wage deductions by brokers. Rights groups have long complained the government has failed to effectively address their concerns.

Meanwhile, young Southeast Asians who study here often have to return home because they can't find any job or well-paying jobs here after graduating.

(By Joseph Yeh)