Wed, Oct 06, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Report slams immigrant labor system

TOO MANY ILLEGALS:Control Yuan members accused the CLA of failing to stop abuse of workers and the NPA of not doing a better monitoring job

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The Control Yuan yesterday demanded that government agencies address the issues of recruiting and management of immigrant workers after learning that 8.85 percent of them disappear from the system after they enter Taiwan.

The problem of illegal workers was highlighted after scaffolding collapsed near the Beishan Interchange (北山交流道) in Nantou on Freeway No. 6 on Thursday, killing seven men, six of whom were Indonesians who continued to work illegally after their original contracts had expired.

Control Yuan members Yin Jeo-chen (尹祚芊) and Chien Lin Whei-jun (錢林慧君) issued an investigation report that said the whereabouts of 32,927 foreign workers, out of a total of 374,126 now in the country, are unknown.

Citing Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) statistics based on interviews with employers, the two Control Yuan members said that the three main reasons immigrant workers abscond from their original employers were: “they are incited by companions to change employers,” “their contracts will expire soon” and “they wished to change jobs for higher pay.”

Chien said the council should be condemned for failing to order foreign employment agencies to stop overcharging workers and for being lenient with local governments who fail to inspect labor brokers working in their jurisdictions.

“Overcharging immigrant workers on commissions and for other purposes was one of the main reasons that some of them ran away,” Chien said.

The percentage of undocumented workers in the construction sector was as high as 21.8 percent, while the percentage in the manufacturing sector was 11.4 percent, the report said.

The Control Yuan members were also dissatisfied with the National Immigration Agency (NPA) because it was unable to provide them with any information regarding the runaway foreign workers.

Yin said the agency did not know the gender of the undocumented workers, how long they have stayed in the country or who their former employers were.

However, Yin and Chien praised a new approach adopted by the CLA at the end of 2007 under which employers are allowed to rehire immigrant workers after their original employment periods end. The Control Yuan said the council had made an effort to reform the recruitment system, which has long been dominated by brokers.

They advised the council apply the approach to employment of first-time immigrant workers applicants, to establish direct hiring centers in their home countries, and to simplify the procedures for employers to hire immigrant workers directly.

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