Fri, May 24, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Labor council may allow China jobs

SHOW ME The council's chairwoman says that if the MAC proves there are job opportunities for Taiwanese in China, she will initiate talks about lifting restrictions

By Chang Yu-jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The chairwoman of the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said yesterday that though she doubted that China could provide employment for middle-aged and elderly Taiwanese, if information from the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) proved her wrong, the CLA would initiate discussions with the MAC within two weeks about lifting restrictions preventing Taiwan's citizens from taking jobs in China.

"If China can genuinely offer job opportunities to middle-aged or older workers, we would be pleased to negotiate with the MAC to have the restrictions lifted," said Chen Chu (陳菊) the CLA's chairwoman.

"I doubt whether China, over 100 million of whose citizens are unemployed, could provide opportunities for Taiwan nationals," she added.

Chen made the promise yesterday to the Legislative Yuan's Health, Environment and Social Welfare committee during interpellation by KMT Legislator Yang Li-huan (楊麗環) regarding unemployment among middle-aged and older workers in Taiwan.

Yang said that although the nation's latest unemployment rate dropped to 4.98 percent in April from 5.16 percent in March, over a million middle aged or older workers still faced the threat of unemployment.

"These middle-aged or older workers are often the chief bread-winners in their families. When they lose their jobs, their families face financial crisis, and other social problems can follow," Yang said.

Yang said that the failure to provide adequate education during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s had left China with few skilled professionals between the ages of 35 and 45 and that the nation was therefore in great need of professional experts, especially in the fields of high technology and financial management.

"It is not right to impose restrictions to prevent Taiwan nationals from working in China because, with their high levels of education and professional expertise, middle-aged Taiwanese workers could have great career prospects in China," Yang said.

Acknowledging the importance of the issue, Chen said that the council would examine the Chinese labor market using information provided by the MAC.

"If there are genuine opportunities for middle-aged or older Taiwanese workers in China, the CLA will do its best to help these well-trained Taiwanese workers to secure jobs in China," she said.

Under the Statute Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), Taiwan nationals are prohibited from taking jobs in China and violators face fines of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000.

However, private Chinese enterprises have already started hunting for high-tech professional and financial managers through Hong Kong agents.

According to reports from a Chinese-language newspaper, local high-tech companies had jointed held a recruiting activity in Hong Kong earlier this year, attracting high-tech professionals from both sides of the Strait, including a group of more than a hundred Taiwanese workers led by a Taiwanese headhunter agency.

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