Group to march for scrapping stay requirement for foreign workers

The Taiwan International Workers' Association (TIWA) said Saturday that it will take to the streets of Taipei Sunday to push for the speedy passage of a law amendment that will scrap the requirement that foreign workers must leave the country for at least one day every three years if they want to be re-hired.

The march will start at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and proceed to the Legislative Yuan, the TIWA said.

The revision to the Employment Service Act, which passed an initial review by the Legislature June 22, would allow foreign workers who have worked in Taiwan for three years -- the longest contract allowed -- to be re-hired without having to leave the country for at least one day.

The amendment was put onto the legislative agenda to pave the way for a second reading in July, but has gone nowhere because of opposition from labor brokerages.

The brokerages argue that it would increase the chance of foreign laborers absconding, would not phase out bad workers, would steal jobs from Taiwan young people, would induce closures of legal brokerage agencies, or would allow migrant workers to become naturalized Taiwanese.

However, the TIWA said the amendment only scraps the requirement of leaving for one day after working in Taiwan for three years, and does not change the foreign worker system.

The chances of foreign workers becoming naturalized Taiwanese is also out of the question, it said.

If the requirement remains, the result will be to "let foreign brokerage agencies collect huge brokerage fees after three years," the TIWA said.

"The scrapping of the requirement will be the first step toward cutting the exploitation of migrant workers and Taiwan moving toward a country that adheres to human rights," the association said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel