Taiwan mulls plan to allow more migrant hiring in construction

05/08/2021 02:30 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Taiwan's Cabinet is considering a plan to lower the threshold for hiring migrant workers for private construction projects, which it estimates would lead to the hiring of an additional 3,400 workers.

According to an official in the Ministry of Labor (MOL), the Cabinet held two meetings in March to discuss the proposal, which is aimed at easing the chronic labor shortages in Taiwan's construction industry.

Under the current version of the plan, the government would scrap a requirement that a private construction project has to have an overall value of at least NT$10 billion in order for it to qualify to hire migrant workers, said the MOL official, who declined to be named.

For construction bids by individual companies, the threshold for hiring migrant workers would be lowered from NT$1 billion to NT$200 million (US$7.22 million), which could be comprised of two separate projects with values of at least NT$100 million, the official said.

However, the project would have to be one of the specific types of construction defined by the government as benefiting the public, such as those related to public infrastructure, sports, tourism, and urban renewal, according to the official.

Although this restriction would exclude many types of private construction, the MOL estimates that it would still allow qualifying companies to hire around 3,400 additional migrant workers, the official said.

Aside from the current proposal, Taiwan has already twice lowered the requirements for hiring migrant workers on government-funded construction projects.

In March 2020, it lowered its threshold from a project value of NT$10 billion to NT$1 billion, which was lowered again to NT$100 million that August.

As of March 2021, there were 713,933 migrant workers in Taiwan, of which 36.1 percent were from Indonesia, 34.47 percent from Vietnam, 21.07 percent from the Philippines and 8.35 percent from Thailand, according to MOL statistics.

Of the total, 4,599 worked in the construction sector.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Matthew Mazzetta)


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