As of yesterday, employers have been prohibited from dispatching foreign caregivers to stay with their patients at long-term care centers or hospital wards for people with chronic diseases, the Council of Labor Affairs announced.
Foreign caregivers will be subject to stricter job assignment rules, and employers who violate them will be slapped with fines ranging from NT$30,000 (US$914) to NT$150,000.
According to the council's job assignment rules, foreign workers are grouped into four categories -- housemaids, manufacturing workers, construction workers and family caregivers.
In the past, foreign caregivers were permitted to stay with patients at professional care centers so long as their employers reported the job assignment plan to the council in advance.
But because officials found that the foreign caregivers were often asked to do extra work, the council decided to ban such job assignments starting yesterday.
Under the new rules, foreign caregivers can now stay with their care recipients only in emergency rooms or in general hospital wards.
The stricter rules are seen as part of the council's efforts to rein in the hiring of foreign caregivers, whose numbers have increased significantly since a new hiring system came into effect early this year.
According to council tallies, the number of foreign caregivers has increased by more than 23,400 since the new system was implemented in January.
Of the 336,000-plus foreigners working in Taiwan, about 130,000 are caregivers, with the number of foreign nationals working in the manufacturing and construction sectors hovering between 160,000 and 170,000.
Council officials said that since the foreign caregiver hiring system was amended, city and county governments had helped to promote the employment of local caregivers.
However, because of a combination of factors, including insufficient incentives offered by the government as well as the much higher wages paid to local caregivers, the number of applications for foreign caregivers had remained high, the official said.