The Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions (TCTU) called yesterday for the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) to control the number of foreign workers allowed into the country in order to protect the domestic job market.
“The number of foreign laborers working in Taiwan has been increasing rapidly over the past year since the easing of certain regulations governing the entry of migrant workers,” TCTU chairman Shih Chao-hsien (施朝賢) said. “For the sake of domestic workers’ rights and interests, the government should not allow the number of foreign workers to increase without a limit.”
He expressed hope that CLA Minister Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄) would limit the number of foreign workers allowed in Taiwan.
Statistics released by the labor agency indicated that there were 367,119 legal foreign workers nationwide at the end of last month, up 1,890 from March and up 19,947, or 5.75 percent, from a year ago.
Many Taiwanese businesses, especially those that need cheap labor, are in favor of allowing more migrant workers, with some also lobbying to lower the minimum wage for foreign workers.
The manufacturing sector topped the list of industries in terms of employment of foreigners, with 187,298 workers. The caregiving sector employs 165,383 foreign workers and the construction sector employs 7,637.
By nationality, Indonesians constituted the largest group of foreign workers with 123,524, or 33.65 percent of the total; followed by 86,059 Thai workers and 85,296 workers from the Philippines.
Taiwan opened up to foreign workers in 1989 and relaxed restrictions further last October.
Taiwan’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, has increased in recent years from 2.99 percent in 2000 to 3.9 percent last year.
In a story yesterday (“NT dollar-yuan exchange on the way,” page 1) we reported incorrectly that an amendment would enable NT dollar-yuan exchanges in Taiwan proper, when in fact the amendment would authorize the Financial Supervisory Committee and the central bank to assume control of currency exchange issues from the Mainland Affairs Council. The changes to currency exchange rules were in a proposal by central bank Deputy Governor George Chou (周阿定). Please visit the Taipei Times Web site to view the updated story. The Taipei Times regrets the error.