Permanent residency rules for migrant caregivers could be eased: MOL

07/16/2022 07:54 PM
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CNA file photo for illustrative purposes only
CNA file photo for illustrative purposes only

Taipei, July 16 (CNA) Taiwan is considering changing rules related to Chinese-language proficiency that would make it easier for migrant caregivers to attain permanent residency, according to an official with the Ministry of Labor (MOL).

Paul Su (蘇裕國), deputy head of the Workforce Development Agency Cross-Border Workforce Management Division under the MOL, told CNA Friday that discussions had taken place on altering or waiving a requirement that individuals must pass the Test of Chinese as Foreign Language (TOCFL) Level 2 speaking exam in order to be reclassified as a "mid-level skilled worker."

Under current rules, migrant caregivers working in private homes can apply for permanent residency after five years as a mid-level skilled worker, which, in addition to Chinese-language proficiency, also requires earning a monthly average salary of over NT$24,000 and more than six years of work experience in Taiwan.

Su said the ministry was considering allowing applicants to meet the language proficiency requirement by passing the TOCFL Level 2 listening exam, or by attending a set number of Chinese class hours at a community college.

He added that the requirement could also be waived for caregivers in institutions and private homes earning more than NT$31,000 (US$1,036) and NT$26,000 a month, respectively, as well as if an employer certifies a continuing employee's language proficiency.

The MOL's rules regarding pathways to permanent residency, however, have been criticized in some quarters for failing to take into account migrant caregivers' exclusion from Taiwan's Labor Standards Act, which provides mandatory days off.

Given this exclusion, many migrant caregivers employed in private homes say they lack the requisite guaranteed time off to attend language classes.

In addition, while the government announced plans to raise the minimum wage for migrant caregivers in private homes last month, the current rate of NT$17,000 a month is well below the required threshold for reclassification as a mid-level skilled worker.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and William Yen)

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Update

Aug. 10: Minimum wage for live-in migrant workers increased to NT$20,000

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