Ministry backs allowing migrant workers to stay longer
Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor (MOL) has voiced its support for a proposal by lawmakers to increase the total number of years foreign nationals can work in Taiwan, but only on the condition that such an extension will not affect job opportunities for local residents.
Nineteen lawmakers, led by Kuomintang Legislator Chiang Hueichen ( ), proposed an amendment to the Employment Service Act at the Legislature on Wednesday that would allow foreign workers to work a total of 15 years in Taiwan, compared with the maximum 12 at present. The lawmakers also proposed to get rid of a regulation requiring migrant workers to leave the country for at least one day when their work permit expires before re-entering the country to work under a renewed or new permit.
Labor Minister Chen Hsiungwen ( ) said he supported the amendment, which he thinks will solidify the relationship between employees and employers, save training costs and keep talented foreign workers in Taiwan.
Extending the length of time migrants can work in Taiwan, he said, will help employers retain people who meet their needs.
“Such a move will not increase the number of foreign workers in Taiwan, but it will help the country’s economic development and social stability,” Chen said.
The Labor Minister was less supportive of the proposal to get rid of the re-entry requirement, saying it had to be discussed further.
Hong Kong and South Korea do not set a ceiling on the aggregate number of years foreign nationals can work in their territories.
Singapore limits basic workers to six-year stays but those with basic technical skills can work in the city state for up to 18 years, and no ceil- ing for total work duration exists for domestic helpers, according the Labor Ministry.
Ministry statistics show that as of Feb. 28, there were 513,570 legally employed foreign workers in Taiwan and 44,204 foreign workers whose whereabouts were unknown.
The largest contingent of foreign workers in Taiwan comes from Indonesia, with 230,000 people working in the country, according to the figures.