KMT legislator suggests extending undocumented migrant workers’ visas to boost vaccination rate

KMT legislator Hsu Chih-jung (徐志榮) advised the Taiwanese government to provide legal channels in extending the visas of undocumented migrant workers so they can get vaccinated without fear. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Kuomintang (KMT, 國民黨) legislator Hsu Chih-jung (徐志榮) advised the Taiwanese government to provide legal channels in extending the visas of undocumented migrant workers so that they can receive vaccinations without fear of being repatriated.

Speaking at a meeting at the Legislative Yuan on Wednesday, Hsu pointed out that although the government stated that they wouldn’t prosecute undocumented migrant workers when they show up to receive vaccines, there was no assurance against the National Immigration Agency (NIA, 移民署) tracking them down and reporting them a few days later.

According to the latest figure provided by the NIA, from Dec. 3 to Dec. 8., around 1,600 undocumented workers have come forward to get vaccinated under the assurance given by the central government.

However, if undocumented migrants fear that they may be written up after receiving their vaccines and providing personal information, they may decide not to risk it; thus, creating a gap in Taiwan’s armor against the Omicron variant.

Taking into consideration of Taiwan’s virus-prevention measures as a whole, Hsu advised that it would be better to allow them to legally extend their stay for a certain period of time.

He pointed out that under the looming threat of the Omicron virus, undocumented migrant workers can’t return to their home countries either. In providing legal channels for them to extend their stay, they wouldn’t need to worry so much and may be more tempted to come forward and get vaccinated.

Though the suggestion was announced at the meeting, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) and NIA official Chang Wen-hsiu (張文秀) did not provide a response on the spot.