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Taiwan to further ease hiring rules for foreign caregivers: Ministry

07/03/2024 08:19 PM
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CNA photo July 3, 2024
CNA photo July 3, 2024

Taipei, July 3 (CNA) Restrictions on hiring live-in caregivers from overseas will be further eased from September, benefiting roughly 55,000 individuals in Taiwan, Deputy Labor Minister Wang An-pang (王安邦) said Wednesday.

The easing of the rules means that certain individuals who require full-time care will no longer need to undergo a functionality assessment using the Barthel Index before hiring a foreign caregiver, Wang told a legislative hearing.

The Barthel Index is used in clinical practice and research in Taiwan to measure an individual's ability to complete activities of daily living and is an important threshold in whether a family can hire an overseas caregiver.

Revisions to related laws will be made in September to cover individuals aged 80 and above with long-term documented medical histories, those with irreversible specific disabilities, and certain people in remote areas, Wang said.

The ministry's announcement comes amid legislative discussions about whether to waive the Barthel Index evaluation for over 80s altogether as the prerequisite for hiring migrant domestic caregivers.

Some ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators have voiced concerns that the policy, proposed by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), could negatively undermine the current long-term care system.

According to the DPP lawmakers, waiving the evaluation would crowd out severely ill people who are most in need of migrant domestic caregivers.

KMT legislators, however, pointed to the considerable cost of hiring a live-in caregiver, arguing that only those with a genuine need would be prepared to pay the high cost.

During the hearing, Wang said the waiver could lead to a shortage of caregivers, citing government figures that there are some 910,000 senior citizens aged 80 or above in Taiwan, compared with only 210,000 migrant caregivers.

He said that a previous relaxation of the rule had already yielded positive results, expressing optimism about the adjustments planned for September.

The expanded eligibility scheme, launched last October, allowed families with members suffering from dementia, breathing or swallowing difficulties, or those that have used long-term care for at least six months to hire live-in migrant caregivers without undergoing a Barthel assessment.

It also broadened accessibility to the service for people with rare diseases and mental or physical disabilities, benefiting approximately 32,000 people as of April.

(By Kuo Chien-shen and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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