Fully vaccinated migrant workers could enter Taiwan first: Gov’t

The MOL announced that they were drafting a proposal to allow re-entry of fully vaccinated migrant workers into Taiwan. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Taiwan has tightened border control in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that foreign professionals and migrant workers have been banned from entering the country for months.

The restrictions have caused the number of migrant workers in Taiwan to fall below the 700,000 foreign workers benchmark and led to a labor shortage in various industries.

In response to the needs of various industries, the Ministry of Labor (MOL, 勞動部) said that it will discuss the situation in inter-ministerial meetings to appropriately relax the ban of entry of migrant workers.

Authorities hope to present a proposal to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) after it has prepared the supporting measures.

The Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee of the Legislative Yuan (社會福利及衛生環境委員會) invited the MOL, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW, 衛生部), and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA, 經濟部) to give a special report on the “Promotion of Employment Stabilization Measures during the COVID-19 Epidemic and Review of the Implementation Status and Effectiveness of Relief Packages and Measures” on Wednesday.

MOL Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) also responded to the issue of the ban on migrant workers in a press meeting before the event.

Hsu pointed out that the MOL and relevant ministries are discussing the conditional re-opening of the migrant workers’ entry program, which involves the management of the worker’s country of origin and the strengthening of the implementation of epidemic prevention measures after entry.

She added that they are currently planning to prioritize the entry of “fully vaccinated persons” and will require them to take PCR tests before and after entry, as well as 14 days of self-health management after entry.

After the proposal is complete, Hsu ensured the public that they would present it to the CECC as soon as possible.

Since December 2020, Taiwan has strictly prohibited Indonesian migrant workers from coming to Taiwan in response to the severity of the epidemic situation there, leaving a shortage of manpower for long-term care that relies heavily on Indonesian migrant workers.

On May 19, 2021, as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened in Taiwan, the entry of non-nationals who do not hold a valid residence permit in Taiwan was suspended, and the entry of all migrant workers was completely stopped, resulting in a labor shortage in various industries.

According to statistics provided by the MOL, the number of migrant workers in Taiwan exceeded 700,000 at the end of September 2018, but fell below 700,000 in July and continued to decline to 699,154 in August 2021 due to epidemic border control.