Tue, Jul 27, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Labor agency says it's still studying changes in quotas

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) yesterday said that a reported increase in the quota for foreign manufacturing laborers has yet to be decided on.

A Chinese-language report on Sunday said that the quota slots for foreign workers for major investment projects in the manufacturing industry that are worth NT$250 million and up also would be made available for investment projects that are worth more than NT$50 million.

The council said that an investment program administered by the Ministry of Economic Affairs since 1995 has allowed investment projects in the manufacturing industry to hire foreign workers as long as the projects were worth more than NT$200 million or NT$500 million.

"As long as a project's worth meets one of the two requirements, it is open to foreign workers. However, some businesses feel that is unfair because these minimum requirements are too high," said Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良), an officer with the council's Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training.

Regarding the possibility of changing this, Tsai said the council has been canvassing the public and business leaders.

"On July 20, the council held a seminar with investors and on July 22, it held a seminar with labor groups to discuss the issue of possible changes to the quota system," said Tsai.

In addition to the quota system in the manufacturing industry, law stipulates that the number of local workers in any business related to these areas has to be 60 percent of the total number of workers employed.

According to information provided by the council, due to in-creased unemployment since September 2000, the council has been cutting back on the number of foreign workers in Taiwan.

As of last month, foreign industrial workers had decreased by 42,456, a 19 percent reduction.

However, foreign social welfare workers had increased by 28,424, a 30 percent jump.

"The number of foreign industrial workers has been reduced over the years to reach the cutback goal. However, due to the underdeveloped care system [for those who are physically disadvantaged], the hiring of foreign caregivers is still allowed for humanitarian reasons. Putting the two together, the overall reduction in the number of foreign laborers has reached its initial goal," the agency said.

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