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Taiwan, Indonesia to sign MOU on migrant worker rights (update)

2018/12/13 21:37:06

Jakarta, Dec. 13 (CNA) Indonesian Minister of Manpower (MOM) Hanif Dhakiri is expected to arrive in Taiwan later Thursday to meet with Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) and witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Friday.

The MOU is with regard to the recruitment, placement and protection of Indonesian migrant workers.

The signing will be followed by a closed-door meeting between the two sides to discuss issues concerning migrant workers from Indonesia, including a wage increase for Indonesian domestic helpers and in-home caregivers, allowing Indonesian migrant workers to freely switch employers, and allowing wages to be paid via banks.

Local media has speculated that the Indonesian government wants Taiwan to raise the monthly minimum wage for domestic helpers and in-home caregivers from NT$17,000 (NT$552) to NT$19,000.

Taiwan's Deputy Labor Minister Lin San-quei (林三貴) told reporters Thursday that "wages will definitely be one of the issues raised by Indonesia" on Friday.

However, how much of a wage increase Indonesia proposes and whether or not the two sides reach a consensus will depend on the talks on Friday, Lin said.

Currently, wages for foreign domestic helpers and in-home caregivers -- different from those of factory workers or institutional caregivers -- are lower than the minimum wage stipulated by Taiwan's Labor Standards Act.

Issues proposed by the Taiwanese side include that Indonesian migrant workers will be given the chance to participate in and pass the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) before working in Taiwan, legal protection of Indonesian fishing crews to get labor and health insurance, and ways to prevent fraudulent job applications by labor brokers for Indonesian fishermen.

Taiwan's Ministry of Labor (MOL) said the MOU is a renewed version of a 2011 MOU between Taiwan and Indonesia that agreed on the direct recruitment of Indonesian migrant workers and the prevention of human trafficking.

The MOL added that the two sides agreed to raise the minimum wage for Indonesian domestic helpers and in-home caregivers to NT$17,000 in 2015 from NT$15,840, a figure that had remained unchanged for 18 years.

According to MOL statistics, some 190,000 Indonesian migrant workers work as caregivers or domestic helpers in Taiwan, 76 percent of all the migrant workers in these categories.

(By Jay Chou, Chi Jo-yao and Wu Hsin-yun)
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