Taipei, April 24 (CNA) Some 33,000 elderly people that suffer a certain degree of disability are expected to benefit from the planned relaxation of regulations governing the hiring of foreign caregivers, a Labor Affairs Council official said Tuesday.
Senior citizens aged 80 or over, who score 60 or less on the Barthel index -- a measurement of an individual's daily functioning skills, will be eligible to hire foreign caregivers once the relaxation of regulations is approved, said Lin San-quei, director-general of the council's Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training.
Current regulations stipulate that only people with one of 10 severe mental or physical disabilities or those who score lower than 35 on the index and need all-day care can apply to hire foreign caregivers, whose wages are much lower than local ones.
The proposed law change was the result of a meeting on Tuesday between different government agencies, including the council, the Department of Health and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as experts and social welfare organizations.
The meeting addressed the issue of long-term caregiving, which is plagued with problems such as the heavy restrictions on applying for foreign caregivers, the high cost of hiring local caregivers and the lack of health care centers.
The proposed new law should not assess applicants based simply on age, but on their degree of disability as well, Lin said.
The new regulations should be implemented only after considering several factors, including the healthy development of a long-term care system, local workers' employment opportunities and families that have already hired foreign caregivers, he added.
The proposed new regulations will be further discussed by an advisory panel on cross-border labor force policies May 9, Lin said.
(By Zoe Wei and Kendra Lin)