MOEA to raise cap on allowable limit of foreign workers

By Ted Chen, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — In light of rising concerns over the difficulty of attracting new hires, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced yesterday plans to raise the limit on the number of foreign laborers businesses may employ, to as high as 40 percent of a company’s payroll. However, businesses hoping to take advantage of the change are required to allocate additional employment security commitments, and pay higher wages for the foreign laborers, said the MOEA, adding that the specifics remain to be determined in conjunction with the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA). The MOEA stated that additional employment security commitments ranging from NT$3,000, NT$5,000, or NT$7,000 are to be levied on companies for each foreign laborer hired under the new policy.

The increase of the cap on foreign laborers to 40 percent of overall payroll represents a matching of incentives designed to attract investment and rebasing of operations from Taiwanese companies operating across the strait.

The Industrial Development Bureau (工業局) explained that they have heard much rumbling from businesses over the particular attributes of the youth cohort, who are reluctant in seeking employment in the manufacturing sector, and of taking on night-shift and graveyard-shift hours. As a result, many businesses find themselves undermanned, and must rely on foreign laborers, the MOEA said.

The MOEA stated that it is deliberating over the specifics of the proposed change with the CLA. The ministry hopes to first implement the change on employment posts classified as 3K5 — denoting occupations that are dangerous and arduous, or jobs that expose workers to messy environments.

Under current policies, companies offering 3K5-type jobs may hire a tiered range of foreign laborers numbering 10, 15, 20, 25, or 35 percent of its overall payroll.

Incidentally, the CLA yesterday urged the public to take advantage of its program designed to incentivize individuals willing to seek employment outside of their hometowns, saying that at present there are three employment posts per job seeker in the Hsinchu and Taoyuan regions. The CLA’s program includes numerous stipends and housing assistants willing to seek employment and either relocate or commute outside their hometowns.