Thu, Dec 18, 2008 - Page 3 News List

CLA mulls plans to prioritize Taiwanese over foreign workers

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said yesterday that it would soon review its policies on foreign labor in an effort to safeguard job opportunities for Taiwanese and ensure protection of their rights in the current economic environment.

In a statement yesterday, the council said that its policy on the recruitment of foreign workers was predicated on the nation’s unemployment rate, the labor shortage rate and the demands of domestic industrial development as a whole.

UNEMPLOYMENT

The council said that with the unemployment rate continuing to climb, it was closely observing the national employment situation and would give priority to Taiwanese workers for employment opportunities and good labor conditions.

In view of recent violations by businesses that have exceeded their legal quotas for hiring foreign workers, the council said that it would strengthen its random examinations of businesses and be on the lookout for major changes in the number of foreign workers hired.

PRIORITIES

The council said that the current policy of admitting foreign workers cannot be allowed to have a negative impact on labor conditions and job opportunities for Taiwanese.

To this end, it said it would look at current procedures for recruitment and management of foreign workers, promote employment services and provide vocational training for Taiwanese to help them weather the unemployment crisis.

The basic principle behind the council’s policies will be to ensure that foreign workers do not rob Taiwanese nationals of job opportunities at home, said Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良), director of the council’s Foreign Workers’ Administration.

The council said that there were 365,000 foreign workers in Taiwan as of the end of March, which represented 3.5 percent of the nation’s total working population.

Among the foreign workers, 198,000 worked in the industrial sector while the rest worked as caregivers.

Most foreign workers in Taiwan come from Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. Many work in so-called “3D” jobs — dangerous, dirty and difficult.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHELLEY HUANG

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