The Council of Labor Affairs announced yesterday that a quota of 20,000 foreign laborers will be able to work in the "special processes" of the so-called "3K industries," starting from Jan. 1.
The council move came in response to complaints about the shortage of workers in "3K industries" -- industries where working conditions are dirty, dangerous and generally "difficult."
A survey of 15,030 companies conducted by the Industrial Development Bureau found a shortage of more than 40,000 workers in certain "special processes" areas.
In the glass industry, for example, these include procedures such as melting glass, cooling glass and cutting glass.
Council Chairman Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said in the new initiative, a special allowance would be made so that the ratio of domestic hires to foreign labor hires for these jobs would be 3:2 while the overall ratio of domestic hires to foreign hires would remain at 85:15.
Head of the Foreign Workers Affairs team, Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良), said the quota of 20,000 workers will come from people who are "recycled" from the present pool of foreign laborers in the country.
While current regulations require traditional industries to show an investment of NT$50 million (US$1.49 million) to be able to hire foreign laborers, this will no longer be necessary.
Under the new initiative, the foreign hires quota for each company will remain constant for six years as opposed to current requirements that a reduction of 3 to 5 percent take place after three years, when the application to hire foreign workers must be renewed.
Tsai said that companies filing applications to hire foreign workers for the "special processes" jobs would be required to provide evidence that they had tried to hire local workers first.
"After the application for foreign hires has been approved, only half of the foreign work force requested will be allowed to work in the company. The remainder will only be allowed to join the company after conditions in the work place have improved," Lee said.