Indonesia pitches direct hiring scheme to Taiwanese companies

10/07/2019 11:26 PM
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Taipei, Oct. 7 (CNA) A placement scheme in which employers bear most of the costs of hiring Indonesian workers was pitched to local companies by the Indonesia Economic and Trade Office (IETO) on Monday as mutually beneficial for employers and workers.

Tatang Budie Utama Razak, head of Indonesia's National Board for Placement and Protection of the Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI), introduced the direct hiring scheme that dispenses with the middleman at a forum held at the IETO.

Billing the program as an alternative for Taiwanese manufacturers, Tatang said the program represents a "revolutionary breakthrough" because it offers employers another hiring channel while protecting migrant workers from exploitation by middlemen or brokers.

Under the scheme, which is currently only available to manufacturers, Taiwanese companies shoulder the cost of air fare, visa application fees, medical examination fees and insurance, roughly totaling just over NT$11,000 (US$353), Tatang said.

Also, Indonesian workers can negotiate with their potential employer the costs of passport application, basic training and local transportation.

The process enables Indonesians to arrive in Taiwan without having spent much or any money and being in debt, Tatang said.

He lamented that many Indonesian workers in Taiwan can only pocket NT$5,000 a month from their salaries because they have to pay off placement fees that can add up to hundreds of thousands of Taiwan dollars and other monthly fees to brokers.

For Taiwanese employers, he said, the scheme guarantees a speedy placement process averaging one-and-a-half months to two months, and is expected to reduce the number of workers who abscond illegally from their employers.

Tatang contended that workers usually abscond because of heavy debts they face from placement fees or to avoid paying rehiring fees to brokers when their work contract ends.

Salaries in Taiwan are relatively low, ranging between NT$17,000 and NT$23,100, and Indonesian workers might choose to move to other countries if the placement fees cannot be reduced, he said.

The zero-cost direct hiring scheme was initiated by the Indonesia's Ministry of Manpower and Taiwan's Ministry of Labor (MOL) in January and has been run on a trial basis since July.

Under the scheme, employers file a request for migrant workers at the Direct Hiring Service Center (DHSC) under the MOL.

The MOL then issues hiring permits together with the Indonesian representative office in Taipei, which relays that information to Indonesian authorities that in turn look for suitable applicants on their databases.

To date, there are only 11 Indonesian workers hired under the scheme, by Shinkong Textile Co. in Taiwan.

An industry player told CNA that employers still have reservations about the scheme because of post-hire management issues such as the processing and cost of yearly medical examinations and document extensions and handling dispute settlements.

Taiwanese employers, however, can still hire Indonesian workers through the two other existing methods, which are via placement agencies and the contract extension scheme, officials from both sides said during the forum.

Based on MOL data, there were 270,890 Indonesian workers in Taiwan as of April, in which 62,501 of them were employed in the manufacturing sector.

(By Emerson Lim)


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