At the end of September 53,561 migrant workers were listed as absent without official leave (AWOL) in Taiwan, including 31,185 women and 22,376 men, according to statistics released by the National Immigration Agency (NIA) on Oct. 18.
That represents an increase of 925 on the official figure for August, though migrant workers who are found to have left the country are deducted from the total.
As of the end of September, 609,272 foreigners were employed as construction workers, factory workers, domestic help or in other manual jobs, according to statistics from the Ministry of Labor (MOL). That means 8.79 percent of migrant workers are currently AWOL.
Of the missing migrant workers, 26,429 are from Vietnam, 23,669 from Indonesia, 2,561 from the Philippines and 901 from Thailand, according to the NIA statistics.
At the end of January 2015, 43,688 migrant workers were listed as AWOL — the earliest figures available from the NIA. In other words, a further 9,873 have gone missing from January 2015 to September 2016, which is an average of 494 migrant workers per month.
In a meeting on Thursday, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) asked the MOL to improve management of foreign workers so that there are fewer incidences of AWOL migrant workers.
Lin instructed the ministry to increase the fine on recruitment agencies that fail to report missing workers or mistreat migrant workers, as specified in a proposed amendment to the Employment Service Act.
Lin also instructed labor officials to look into other ways of improving the management of migrant workers.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel