Taiwan mulls easing regulations on arrival of migrant workers

The MOL hopes to reach a consensus with the CECC in lifting the ban on allowing Indonesian migrant workers into Taiwan. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — With about 700,000 migrant workers in Taiwan, the labor force relies heavily on migrant workers in manufacturing, construction and long-term care industries.

Amid stricter epidemic prevention and border control, however, the entry of migrant workers into Taiwan has been suspended for almost a year, meaning that various industries, especially long-term care services, are experiencing a shortage of workers.

Accordingly, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) recently said that she would propose to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) to relax the regulations restricting migrant workers from entering Taiwan.

Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee of the Legislative Yuan invited the Ministry of Labor (MOL, 勞動部) on Oct.. 8 and other ministries to report on the “direction of this year’s minimum wage adjustment, supporting measures, and the financial resources and basis for providing subsidies.”

Legislator Chang Yu-mei (張育美) pointed out that Taiwan has suspended the entry of Indonesian migrant workers since Dec. 4, 2020 (for 308 days), in response to the seriousness of the pandemic in Indonesia.

With 75% of the social welfare workforce composed of Indonesian migrant workers, the ban has had a great impact on long-term care, she continued.

She pointed out that in May this year, the border control was tightened due to the worsening epidemic situation in Taiwan, and all migrant workers were suspended from entering the country, causing a labor shortage in various industries.

To this, Hsu replied that with the pandemic situation stabilizing in Taiwan, the ban resulting from the strict epidemic prevention measures is being gradually lifted in various places, adding that the MOL is in discussion with the CECC about possibly relaxing measures limiting migrant workers from entering Taiwan.

She indicated that the benchmark for lifting the ban on migrant workers in Indonesia at the time was less than 5,000 new cases per day for one week; now, it has dropped to less than 1,000 cases per day.

She assured the public that the MOL will take stock of the labor shortage in the industry and evaluate the epidemic situation in each country before proposing the appropriate introduction of migrant workers to the CECC.