Mon, Dec 20, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Ban on Indonesian labor lifted

WORK AGREEMENT Under a deal between Taipei and Jakarta, the two governments will work together to tackle the problems of runaways and unscrupulous brokerages

STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

A two-year ban on the importation of Indonesian workers officially ends today, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) announced yesterday.

As of today, said council officials told a press conference yesterday, employers will be able to apply for and recruit labor from Indonesia without restriction, something that has not been possible since Aug. 1, 2002.

The announcement comes as the first step in the realization of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to end the labor freeze that was signed on Friday by Representative to Indonesia, Lin Yung-lo (林永樂) and the director of the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei, Ferry Yahya.

The council imposed an across-the-board ban on the importation of Indonesian workers in 2002 in retaliation for Jakarta's failure to cooperate in solving both the high runaway rate of such workers and unreasonable brokerage fees for laborers on the Indonesian side.

The MOU deals with the rights of Indonesian workers, health and medical services for the workers, supervision of labor brokerages and immigration assistance for workers entering the country at the nation's airports. It also covers the resolution of labor-management disputes and accelerated "direct hiring," council officials said yesterday.

According to a statement released by the council, CLA Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊) and Indonesia's Minister of Manpower and Trans-Immigration Affairs Falmi Indris reached several agreements about the direction of mutual labor cooperation in talks in Bali before the MOU was signed.

First, in order to guarantee the rights of Indonesian workers here and secure the operation of our labor management system, both Taiwan and Indonesia must work together to establish and improve the mechanism dealing with runaways. This will be done primarily by focusing on immigration procedures for workers entering and leaving Taiwan, the council said.

Second, Indonesia will put brokerage firms looking to recruit workers for Taiwan through a stringent screening in order to ensure the quality of the firms' services.

Third, the first Taiwan-Indonesian Labor Affairs conference will be held here next month to allow officials from both countries to discuss relevant labor issues.

Finally, to expand the interaction between Taiwanese and Indonesian labor affairs agencies, Taipei will provide Jakarta with trained personnel to help it develop its job training resources.

The end of the ban means that Taiwanese employers will now have more options in employing foreign labor, said Kuo Fang-yu (郭芳煜), director of the council's Employment and Vocational Training Administration in a telephone interview with the Taipei Times yesterday.

"One of the council's missions is to diversify the number of countries employers can choose from," Kuo said.

There will be no restriction on the number of workers allowed to come to Taiwan, Kuo said.

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