Migrant workers charged for service fees pending on 3 conditions

The Ministry of Labor (勞動部) reminds manpower agencies that when collecting service fees from migrant workers, there are three following conditions that ought to be met: a signed contract must exist, with the fact of service and no advance payment is allowed. (photo courtesy/shutterstock)

Due to differences in language and culture, most migrant workers depend on manpower agencies to arrange all kinds of issues they encounter in their daily lives.

The Ministry of Labor (勞動部) has reminded manpower agencies, however, that there are three conditions that ought to be met when collecting service fees from migrant workers: a signed contract must exist, with the fact of service and no advance payment is allowed.

In addition to a fine, agencies that violate such regulations could face suspension of their business for up to one year, said the ministry.

According to current laws and regulations, agencies can only charge migrant workers a “monthly service fee”, which shall not exceed NT$1,800, NT$1,700 and NT$1,500 for the first, second and third year respectively.

After the migrant worker has worked in Taiwan for three years, he/she can renew the contract with the current employer or transfer to a new employer.

No matter in which case, the agency commissioned to handle the re-employment or transfer of the worker may charge the employer or the new employer an agency fee, the total amount of which shall not exceed the first month’s salary of the migrant worker.

No agency fees shall be charged from migrant workers for the re-employment or transfer of work. Only a service fee shall be charged, which shall not exceed NT$1,500 per month after the third year.

The ministry stresses that it would be a violation of the law for an agency to collect agency fees from migrant workers in the name of matching them with new employers.

In cooperation with the local governments, the ministry promised to continue investigating any violation of the law as described above.

Those found overcharging migrant workers could be punished with fines ranging from 10 to 20 times the amount of fees charged, suspension of business, or denied renewal of certificates.