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Taiwan has more than 40,000 missing foreign laborers

2013/12/05 23:03:50

Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) The number of missing foreign laborers in Taiwan has reached over 40,000 as of October, accounting for about 8.7 percent of the total number of foreign workers in the country, according to the latest government statistics.

As of the end of October, there were 41,637 missing foreign laborers in Taiwan, the National Immigration Agency's statistics showed.

They were among some 478,000 foreign laborers in Taiwan, according to the government statistics.

The number of missing foreign laborers rose from 22,553 in 2007, or 6.3 percent of the total foreign laborers in that year, to more than 8 percent in October 2013, the Control Yuan said Thursday.

The government watchdog agency in charge of examining the work of other government agencies censured the Ministry of the Interior, which governs the immigration agency, and demanded improvements.

The Control Yuan said the ministry had performed poorly in dealing with the problem of missing foreign laborers.

It said the unaccounted for foreign laborers could pose a threat to social security because the government does not have their household registration information, making it difficult to track them down if they were to commit a crime.

Migrant workers are believed to go missing mainly because they want to continue to stay in Taiwan and work illegally, even after their work contract has expired.

Unlike other countries that allow migrant workers to stay and look for another job after they finish one job, Taiwan's system requires that they return home after their work contract expires. They are then forced to pay brokers in their countries and in Taiwan to help them find another job here.

Brokers fees are high and migrants have complained that most of their earnings in the first year go to pay off the hefty fees.

(By Sophia Yeh and Elaine Hou)