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Taiwan sees sharp rise in number of foreign domestic workers

2017/02/27 19:34:57

Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) The number of foreign domestic employees in Taiwan increased 5.77 percent last year, an annual growth number that was nearly triple that in the previous year, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Labor (MOL).

As of the end of 2016, there were 624,758 migrant workers in Taiwan, 237,291 of whom were employed as caregivers and home helpers, the data showed.

The number of domestic workers grew by an annual 1.97 percent, or 12,935, in 2015 to 224,356, then spiked last year by 5.77 percent, according to the MOL figures.

The number of foreign employees in the industrial sector also increased last year by 23,893, or 6.57 percent, to 387,477, the figures showed.

Meanwhile, the annual increase in the total number of foreign workers in Taiwan was 6.26 percent, the statistics showed.

According to labor industry experts, the sharp growth rate in the number of foreign domestic employees could be attributed to a change in government regulations in August 2015 that allowed the employment of foreign caregivers for people over the age of 85 with mild disabilities.

However, Wu Ching-ju (吳靜如), director of the Taiwan International Workers' Association, said she doubted the high growth rate was linked to government's 2015 regulation.

In fact, since the introduction of a government policy of long-term care in Taiwan 10 years ago, the number of foreign caregivers in Taiwan has been increasing steadily, Wu said.

The MOJ also did not support the idea that the 2015 regulation had contributed significantly to the increase last year in the number of foreign domestic workers, saying that only 700 foreign workers had been employed last year to provide care for people over 85 with mild disabilities.

The ministry, however, did not offer another reason for the increase, saying only that it would seek an answer.

Hsueh Chien-chung (薛鑑忠), section chief of the MOJ's Workforce Development Agency, said it may have been due to a relatively low comparison base in 2015.

He said there have been fluctuations in the growth of the number of foreign domestic employees in Taiwan over the past 10 years because supply and demand hinge on the number of people eligible to hire such workers.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Evelyn Kao)