Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Affidavits aim to protect rights of foreign laborers


Starting Sept. 1, foreign laborers, their agencies and employers must sign an affidavit confirming a common understanding of wages and agency fees, the Council of Labor Affairs said yesterday.

The affidavit will be available in five languages: English, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian and Mongolian, and will be signed by the prospective employee, his or her employer, the agency in the employee's native country and the local agency involved, the council said.

The affidavit must then be submitted together with other necessary documents before the laborer enters the country.

"Many foreign laborers borrow money from agencies in their native countries [which are then deducted from subsequent earnings], and this sometimes leads to disputes," said Chen Po-yi (陳博宜), an official at the council's department of foreign labor affairs.

"The affidavit will list all relevant expenses in black and white for all parties involved," Chen said.

Financial obligations referred to in the affidavit include placement fees imposed by the agency in the employee's home country, fees imposed by the home country (such as for a physical examination) money borrowed from creditors prior to arrival, the wage to be earned, fees paid to agencies here and government fees imposed in this country (such as insurance).

"Should a dispute arise over an excessive service fee, agencies in Taiwan and in the home country of the employee can easily place blame on one another. It is then difficult for the labor authorities to figure out who is responsible for the problem," Chen said.

According to labor guidelines, the highest service fee a local employment agency can impose on a foreign laborer is NT$1,800 per month in the first year of employment, NT$1,700 per month in the second year and NT$1,500 per month in the third.

"These are the highest amounts that the labor rules can allow. Of course, if an agency wants to charge less, it is free to state this in the affidavit," Chen said.

According to the affidavit form, if an employment agency abroad or in this country fails to charge fees in accordance with the law, the employee can file a complaint with the council by telephone.

For English-speaking assistance, the number is 0800-885-885. For Thai, 0800-885-995. For Indonesian, 0800-885-958. And for Vietnamese, 0800-017-858.

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