CORONAVIRUS/Indonesia to impose strict penalty for forging COVID-19 test results
Jakarta, Dec. 2 (CNA) The Indonesian government said Wednesday it will revoke the license of the manpower agencies found forging negative COVID-19 tests for Indonesians hired to work overseas, after Taiwan temporarily suspended the entry of migrant workers from that country.
After a meeting with officials of Taiwan's representative office in Indonesia on Wednesday, Benny Rhamdani, head of the Agency for the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2MI), told the press that 85 Indonesian migrant workers who arrived in Taiwan recently were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.
He said the 85 workers were sent to Taiwan by 14 manpower agencies, which will now be investigated by the BP2MI to find out whether they had forged the COVID-19 tests before the migrant workers left Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the BP2MI will notify Indonesia's Ministry of Manpower and other relevant authorities that employment agencies will have their license revoked if they are found to be forging COVID-19 test results, Benny said.
The statement came after Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Monday that it was temporarily suspending the entry of Indonesian migrant workers for two weeks, starting Dec. 4, following a recent spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases from Indonesia.
The CECC also said Taiwan would no long accept migrant workers from the 14 manpower agencies that had sent dozens of infected people recently.
After Benny's two-hour meeting with officials of Taiwan's representative office in Indonesia, he told reporters it was agreed that Indonesia had been working hard to control the virus, and he said he respects Taiwan's latest border control decision.
"Indonesia respects Taiwan's measures," he said.
On the issue of the BP2MI's plan to ask Taiwanese employers to pay part of the recruitment costs for Indonesian migrant workers, Benny told CNA that the matter had not been discussed in Wednesday's meeting.
Indonesia and Taiwan have not yet talked about that issue, he said, adding that he did not know when it would be discussed.
In Taiwan, the Ministry of Labor has said Taiwanese employers should not have to share the costs of recruiting Indonesian migrant workers, as the Indonesian government is demanding, and it will consider the possibility of bringing in workers from other countries instead.
The ministry said it received a letter in October from the Indonesian representative office in Taipei, stating that from Jan. 1, 2021, Taiwanese employers would be required to pay 11 types of fees for Indonesian workers before they depart for Taiwan, including passport and visa processing fees and airfare. The new policy has been strongly opposed by Taiwanese employers.
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