Taiwan welcomes migrant workers fully vaccinated with WHO-approved vaccines

Indonesian citizens waiting to be vaccinated. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The Ministry of Labor (MOL, 勞動部) announced on Thursday that migrant workers who have received two doses from the six World Health Organization-approved vaccines, including two brands manufactured in China, will be considered for re-entry.

Due to the increasingly serious problem of labor shortage in Taiwan, the central government has decided to allow the re-entry of migrant workers who have been fully vaccinated with 2 vaccine doses on Wednesday.

It is reported that since the vaccines received by migrant workers in their countries may not be the four currently recognized in Taiwan, MOL Workforce Development Agency (勞動部勞動力發展署) Director-General Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良) said any vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO, 世界衛生組織) is acceptable.

At present, the vaccines recognized by WHO are: Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT), AstraZeneca(AZ), Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm, and Sinovac vaccines.

MOL Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) added that migrant workers will be allowed re-entry into Taiwan in mid or late November at the latest, but taking into consideration the return of Taiwanese looking to celebrate Chinese New Year in Taiwan, re-entry will be suspended on Dec. 14 and will be reopened after Feb. 14, 2022.

Hsu said that the MOL decided to resume migrant workers’ entries into Taiwan on Feb. 14 because prior to that time, virus-prevention measures will be stricter.
Starting on Feb. 15, migrant workers heading into Taiwan will be able to quarantine at designated hotels or residential areas.

The MOL also addressed the issue regarding the Indonesian government’s recent plan to exempt migrant workers from having to pay any fee if they seek work in Taiwan.

Hsu explained that as Taiwanese lawmakers have yet to accept these conditions, they are still negotiating with the Indonesian government, and are currently relaying Taiwan’s virus-prevention measures to them in anticipation of further collaboration in the future.

In addition, Hsu promised that during the 14-day quarantine and 7-day self-health management period, migrant workers will not have to bear any expenses for food and shelter, and their salaries will not be reduced.

Tsai added that migrant workers will receive a subsidy while under quarantine, so they will be on no-paid leave during that time. On the other hand, they can choose to have paid leave during that time, though no subsidy will be provided with this plan.

The MOL stressed that employers still need to pay migrant workers while they are undergoing self-health management as it should be counted as part of the cost of hiring new employees.

They emphasized that money must be spent to ensure that the rights of migrant workers are being protected.