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NIA re-designates runaway migrant workers as "unaccounted for"

2017/09/19 23:55:58

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) National Immigration Agency (NIA) Director-General Jeff J. Yang (楊家駿) announced Tuesday that in future whenever foreign workers' whereabouts are unknown after leaving their official place of employment, his agency will no longer refer to them as "illegal runaways" but rather classify them as "unaccounted for."

Yang made the announcement following a press conference held at the Legislative Yuan with 4-Way Voice's chief editor Chang Lung-yu (張龍宇) and Kuomintang lawmakers Lin Li-chan (林麗蟬) and Chen Shei-saint (陳學聖).

Foreign workers often feel compelled to leave their jobs in Taiwan for reasons beyond their control, but despite that are often characterized as suspects or criminals, which Yang said was unhelpful and would henceforth be replaced by the designation "unaccounted for."

Yang said that the focus should not be solely on the "arrest" of foreign workers who leave their place of employment, but rather laws relating to illegal agents and employers should be more rigorously enforced because they are often the reason migrant workers leave.

He said that when handling "unaccounted for" foreign workers, the NIA and National Police Agency have a responsibility to behave in accordance with the law and the unfortunate death of "unaccounted for" Vietnamese migrant worker Nguyen Quoc Phi is extremely regrettable, but hopefully will lead to a better understanding of human rights among law enforcement personnel.

(By Liu Kuan-ting and William Yen)