The Council of Labor Affairs will increase penalties for illegal labor brokering as part of efforts to resolve the problem of runaway foreign workers, an official said yesterday.
At present, the maximum fine for the brokering of illegal workers is NT$500,000 (US$16,600) and repeat offenders within a five-year period can be sentenced to one year in jail and a fine of up to NT$600,000.
The council is planning to raise the maximum fine for a first offense to NT$1.5 million, and for repeat offenses a maximum prison term of five years is planned and a fine of up to NT$2.4 million, said Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良), chief of the foreign workers management division at the council’s Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training.
As for measures targeting the more than 1,000 registered labor brokers in the country, brokers would have their license revoked if it is found that there is an excessively high runaway rate among the workers they bring in, Tsai said.
He said the government believed brokers must take major responsibility for the problem of runaways because they supply the foreign workers.
The official was responding to a recent crackdown by the National Immigration Agency on a ring providing false identification documents that targeted runaway foreign workers.
Council statistics show there are about 34,000 runaway foreign workers in Taiwan.
The issue has drawn much attention in the wake of the Sept. 6 deaths of six runaway foreign workers, who were illegally employed at a construction site on the No. 6 Freeway.