Taiwan mulls lifting ban on Indonesian workers if needed
Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Taiwan is considering lifting the current entry ban on Indonesian migrant workers if demand for workers from the Southeast Asian country requires it, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said Tuesday.
In December 2020, Taiwan decided to impose an indefinite ban on the recruitment of Indonesian migrant workers, as the reliability of Indonesia's polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 was called into question.
Indonesian officials have talked since then with Taiwan's representatives in the country on the issue, during which the Taiwanese side expressed hope that Indonesia can provide a list of certified PCR testing facilities there.
At present, Indonesia has selected more than 80 certified testing institutions in the hope that more reliable coronavirus testing can result in the ban being lifted, according to Chen.
Taiwan will consider lifting the ban if there is strong demand for Indonesian migrant workers and will make a decision based on negotiations between the Ministry of Labor and Indonesia on the matter, Chen said, adding, however, that to begin with, it will impose entry controls on the total number of migrant workers from the country.
Meanwhile, CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said the COVID-19 pandemic is still at its peak and that further assessment will be required before Taiwan lifts the ban.
On Monday, the Indonesian authorities said that Indonesian migrant workers are required to take PCR tests at 90 government-designated laboratories and they expressed hope that Taiwan will lift its ban and allow 6,000 Indonesian migrant workers affected by the freeze to enter the country.
Benny Rhamdani, head of the Agency for the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2MI), said in a statement that about 6,000 workers have already prepared visas, employment documents and health checkups to work in Taiwan and that once Taiwan decides to remove its curb on Indonesian workers, Indonesia will strengthen its oversight to avoid the issuance of fake coronavirus test results.
Taiwan's representative office in Indonesia told CNA that it will submit BP2MI's project and a report on the COVID-19 situation in Indonesia to the CECC and other relevant government agencies for evaluation before any decision on the matter is made.
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