Wed, Nov 09, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Companies upset by revisions to foreign labor rules

By Jenny Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

A public hearing was held yesterday to air concerns from local manufacturers and construction firms about proposed changes to the regulations governing the hire of foreign laborers.

The new proposals state that companies can only apply to rehire a foreign worker once, three years after their initial hire.

Trade industry representatives who took part in the public hearing expressed concern that this would mean foreign hires would be completely terminated after six years.

"We have projects to finish, we need workers to do the work," Lee Tsang-jiang (李滄江), a representative of Dayuan industrial site, said at the event hosted by Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Huang Chung-yung (黃宗源).

`OTHER MEANS'

Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) Chairman Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) attended the hearing and said policy changes were not intended to terminate the rehiring of workers after six years, but that there would be other means through which applications for foreign workers would be possible.

Lee said "adjustments" to the policy proposals would be made and would vary according to the nature of each industry.

Kuo Fang-yu (郭芳煜), head of the council's employment and training division, said special conditions for hiring foreign laborers would apply for "particular stages" of manufacturing processes.

"Under the new policies more companies than before will be able to use foreign laborers," Kuo said.

UNREALISTIC RATIO?

Another concern raised by company representatives was the proposed requirement that there should be a 85 percent to 15 percent ratio between domestic and foreign hires.

Many representatives said if they could have a workforce that was 85 percent domestic workers they wouldn't need foreign laborers in the first place.

Lee said there was room to adjust the policies for crucial stages of industrial processes in those cases where no domestic laborers could be found to do the work.

HOME-CARE WORKERS

Companies are also concerned that new policies to allow for more foreign home-care workers in response to the increasing number of elderly people would decrease the number of foreign laborers allowed to enter the country.

They asked that allocation numbers for these two categories be kept separate.

Kuo agreed that there was a need for the two categories to be kept separate.

Council Senior Executive Officer Chen Tsai-neng (陳才能) said details of new policies have to be finalized and that they are expected to be announced at the end of the year.

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