Taipei, Feb.27 (CNA) The Global Workers' Organization (GWO) urged the government on Thursday to grant special pardon to undocumented migrant workers in Taiwan, as part of the country's efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and replenish its workforce.
The call came after an undocumented female caregiver from Indonesia was confirmed the previous day as the 32nd patient in Taiwan to contract the new coronavirus.
"Illegal migrant workers are very likely to become a loophole in Taiwan's virus-prevention network," Karen Hsu (徐瑞希), secretary-general of the GWO, told CNA. "Even if they know they're infected with the disease, they'll be afraid to come forward or ask for help, because they don't want to be deported."
She suggested that the Taiwan government grant amnesty to the estimated 50,000 illegal migrant workers in the country, at this time of severe workforce shortage amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Only by registering those undocumented migrant workers can the government effectively contain the spread of the virus, as many of them tend to take part in large gatherings in their spare time," Hsu said.
Hsu also urged government authorities to help ensure that migrant workers, including domestic helpers and factory workers, obtain information about hygienic practices to reduce the risk of viral transmission.
It is also important that Taiwanese employers provide face masks to their foreign caregivers who are required to work in hospitals and to factory workers, to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19, which is showing no signs of abating, Hsu said.