Sat, Jul 31, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Foreign laborers may require special accounts

CAPITAL CONTROLSThe proposed regulations, which would take effect as early as January, aim to better manage foreign workers' money flows

CNA , Taipei

The Council of Labor Affairs is considering demanding that the 300,000-plus foreign workers in the country open accounts at selected banks to facilitate control of foreign laborer-related money flow control, a council official said yesterday.

According to the council's plan, foreign nationals intending to legally work here would be required to open personal accounts at selected local or foreign-owned banks before they come to Taiwan. Their employers will then remit their wages into those accounts every month after deducting manpower brokerage fees and other necessary expenditures.

"At present, Taiwan has about 302,000 foreign workers and the foreign laborers-related money flow can reach an estimated NT$72 billion annually," said the official with the council's Employment and Vocational Training Administration.

If this money flow can be managed well, the official said, it will contribute a great deal to the domestic financial market.

Several local banks, as well as Thailand's Bangkok Bank and the Philippines' Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co, have expressed keen interest in handling relevant services, the official said.

If all goes smoothly, the official said, the new measure is likely to be put into practice in January.

The idea to impose control of money flows came up during a recent meeting of representatives from the council, other government agencies, manpower agencies, labor unions and banking institutions, the official went on.

"The new measure is aimed at addressing the increasingly serious issue of foreign laborers absconding from their contracted workplaces," the official said. "At present, our control system is mainly based on manpower agents and employers. We hope the proposed money flow control will contribute to foreign labor management."

The new system will also protect foreign laborers from being exploited by unscrupulous manpower agents, the official said.

Meanwhile, the council is also considering revising the law to demand that absconding foreign workers who are captured pay for their own repatriation fees. At present, employers have to pay the deportation fees.

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