Amendment scrapping stay requirement for migrant workers passes

Migrant workers in Taiwan can be re-hired without having to leave the country every three years, according to an amendment to the Employment Service Act that cleared the Legislative Yuan Friday.

The amendment removed a provision that required migrant workers who have worked in Taiwan for three years --the longest contract allowed -- to leave the country for at least one day if they want to be re-hired.

It will take effect as soon as it is publicly posted by the Presidential Office, a formality that usually takes fewer than three weeks.

The measure will help migrant workers save between NT$75,000 and NT$180,000 in brokerage and other fees, ruling Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Yu-chin (???) said.

As of the end of July, 603,109 foreigners were employed as construction workers, factory workers, domestic helpers or in other manual jobs in Taiwan, data from the Ministry of Labor showed.

Before the law was amended, some 14,000 of them needed to leave the country every year to be able to re-enter the country to continue their work here, according to the ministry.

In most of those cases, migrant workers need to pay brokerage or regulation fees to re-enter and work in Taiwan again, fees that can pose a serious financial burden, the ministry said.

Such costs can amount to NT$50,000-NT$54,000 in Indonesia and as much as NT$120,000 in Vietnam.

While the amendment was welcomed by migrant workers, employment brokers and some employers expressed their opposition.

Huang Gao-jie (???), CEO of the Taoyuan City Employment Service Business Association, said the requirement that migrant workers must leave the country after three years was designed to eliminate inferior workers.

Removing the requirement, he argued, will result in migrant workers staying for prolonged periods in Taiwan and competing for jobs with locals.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel