08/31/2013, 00.00
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Taipei, government launches new measures to protect foreign workers

by Xin Yage
About half a million migrants, mostly from Indonesia and Thailand, live and work on the island. The government wants to curb the mediation of employment agencies, which undermine productivity and often hire workers illegally.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - Along with the industrial production the demand for foreign labor is also increasing in Taiwan and with it the awareness of the rights of all workers, especially those of immigrants. The Labour Minister Pan Shih- wei (潘世伟) has made known that the government will try to facilitate Taiwanese employers direct recruitment of foreign workers : "It will not be easy but we will try to achieve it ."

This goal is to meet the employers demands for workers' in their countries of origin. The issue arose after the annual bilateral meeting between Thailand and Taiwan took place in Bangkok last week, in which the Thai delegation had pointed out how often workers are in the hands of intermediary agencies , which demand a good percentage of their earnings .

These agencies can be advantageous for employers because they deal with the bureaucracy of the recruitment process.  But along with the benefits come now few problems for businesses: when directly employed, a worker is more motivated in their profession and loyalty to the employer.

For this reason and to try to safeguard the rights and wages of immigrant workers in Taiwan, the Ministry of Labour now uses new measures to boost the direct employment, though obviously this cannot be made ​​compulsory. In the case of hiring through agencies, the Ministry is committed to strictly controlling the scale of rates for this service.

In addition, the Ministry of Labour has announced that starting in 2014 it will bring in workers also from Myanmar.

During the same press conference, Lin San-quei (林三贵) , director of employment and vocational training , said that industrial growth in recent years requires more foreign workers. In the last year alone, industrial production recorded an overall growth of 2.07 percent, especially in the semiconductor, steel and petrochemical industries. The office is now looking to attract workers from Sri Lanka , Thailand and Myanmar. At the moment are 465 thousand foreign workers in Taiwan: the majority coming from Indonesia (more than 200 thousand) while those from Thailand are 62,500.


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