Jakarta, Dec. 31 (CNA) A program encouraging Taiwanese manufacturers to hiring Indonesians directly rather than through brokers has started to deliver results, an Indonesian official said Monday.
Speaking at a year-end review of his agency's major initiatives, Tatang B. Razak, head of the National Board for Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers (BNP2TKI), was happy to cooperate with Taiwan's Ministry of Labor (MOL) on the program.
He admitted that the number of Indonesian workers benefiting from the new scheme was very limited, but he called it "the first step" in the right direction and said the BNP2TKI will continue to promote direct hiring.
Tatang said 11 Indonesians hired under the plan are already in Taiwan, but another official said 14 others also found jobs under the plan in 2019 and were preparing to head to Taiwan.
The official also estimated that 100 Indonesians could take advantage of the program in 2020.
Those numbers pale in comparison to the 276,181 Indonesian nationals working in Taiwan as of November 2019, including 64,743 in the manufacturing sector.
And because most Indonesians are caregivers or domestic helpers, the new program's scope will be limited because domestic helpers cannot be directly hired through it.
But Tatang said the program was still important because the high job placement and service fees charged by brokers has been a problem, citing fees of 30 million-60 million rupiah (US$2,162-US$4,323) that Indonesian nationals have to pay before they can work in Taiwan.
The idea is also favored by migrant workers.
Hundreds of migrant workers from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam took to the streets of Taipei earlier this month to demand that the brokerage system be abolished in favor of a mandatory government-to-government hiring system.
Such a program has long been in place for migrant workers who were already in Taiwan, but it was extended in July to Indonesians who had never worked in Taiwan before.
Under the new scheme, Taiwanese manufacturers list their job openings online, and Indonesian workers also apply online and then go through a screening process that may include interviews on site or via video conference.
Applications are expected to be processed within two months, and the employer pays for the workers' visa, health checkups and airfare. There are no additional placement fees.
Shinkong Textile Co. and Ho Yu Textile Co. are the two companies that have listed openings so far through the system, and the 25 workers are either working at or set to work in their factories.
Still, the program faces considerable obstacles, especially among employers.
Though the concept and complaints about broker abuses have been around for a long time, most employers in Taiwan still prefer to hire migrant workers through brokers or placement agencies because of the greater convenience, Tatang said.
He felt, however, that after visiting Taiwan two months ago and explaining to employers the benefits of the system, more of them were willing to consider the idea.