Over 80,000 migrant workers apply to keep working in Taiwan

07/13/2020 08:51 PM
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Image taken for Pixabay for illustrative purposes only
Image taken for Pixabay for illustrative purposes only

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) Over 80,000 migrant workers in Taiwan applied for new jobs or to be re-hired by their employers, from mid-march to the end of June, reducing unnecessary travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's labor ministry said Monday.

Taiwan has banned entry to most foreign nationals since March 19 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with the exception of those who hold an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or documents proving they are in Taiwan for diplomatic and other official purposes, or to fulfill business contracts.

As a result, from March 19 through to the end of June, a total of 82,324 migrant workers applied to extend their contract with their existing employer or found potential new employers instead of leaving the country, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said in a statement.

Another 1,685 migrant workers applied for a program that allows three-month extensions of their work contracts if they reached the legal limit for employment in Taiwan, the MOL said.

Currently, the legal limit is 14 years for domestic helpers and 12 years for all other categories of migrant workers.

In addition, another 726 workers applied to extend their stay for another three to six months because of the lack of flights back to their countries of origin due to the pandemic, the ministry said.

In order to decrease cross-border travel and slow down the spread of the coronavirus, the MOL has encouraged employers to hire migrant workers within Taiwan or re-hire their original workers instead of hiring from overseas.

"If employers can hire migrant workers in Taiwan, or re-hire their original workers, then it saves everybody a lot of trouble because new incoming workers need to go through quarantine," Chen Chang-pang (陳昌邦), director of the Cross-Border Workforce Affairs Center under the MOL's Workforce Development Agency told CNA.

It is also cheaper for employers to hire migrant workers who are already in Taiwan, Chen added.

"Take domestic helpers for example, they must go through collective quarantine for 14 days, which costs the employer an extra NT$10,500 (US$357)," Chen said.

The amount is calculated based on costs of NT$1,500 per day with half the amount to be subsidized by the government, Chen said.

The number of new incoming migrant workers has also dropped dramatically Chen said, adding that over 10,000 workers entered Taiwan in March, compared with only 469 in June.

In June, 176 were for productive industries, while 293 were for social welfare work, including domestic helpers and caregivers, Chen said.

(By William Yen)

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