The Taipei City Government’s Department of Labor Affairs yesterday promised to strengthen inspections on illegal work cases of white-collar foreign workers after a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor accused a foreign English-language teacher of moonlighting as a male stripper.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Hung Chien-yi (洪健益) said the teacher from England registered his workplace in Hsinchu County. However, he was also found working as a male stripper under the stage name Eric in nightclubs in Taipei City.
The teacher’s illegal work status was exposed after he was involved in a dispute with a 27-year-old Taipei resident surnamed Wu (吳) at Taipei Wanhua Sports Center on Sunday, Wu said.
According to Wu, the person shouted at front desk staff at the center who would not let him in because he failed to bring a towel. Wu tried to resolve the situation, but was “almost involved in a physical confrontation” with the foreigner, who threatened to hurt him.
“He said he was a gangster and I would pay for not minding my own business ... I later found out that not only was he an English teacher, but also a male stripper. This is not appropriate behavior for a foreign English teacher,” Wu told a press conference at Taipei City Council.
Hung accused the foreigner of threatening Taiwanese and ignoring the country’s laws by illegally moonlighting, urging the Taipei City Government and the Taipei City Police Department to clamp down on the illegal jobs of so-called white-collar foreign workers.
“Taiwan is a friendly country and we welcome foreigners to work and live here legally. What we do not allow is any acts of disrespect toward Taiwanese and illegal acts from people like ‘Mr Eric,’” he said. “Illegal working does not only happen with foreign laborers from Southeast Asian countries. Instead of targeting those foreign laborers, the Department of Labor Affairs needs to strengthen its inspection of foreign workers from other countries.”
Chen Hui-chi (陳惠琪), a division chief at the department, said the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) stipulated that foreigners must work in accordance with the job title and description listed on their work permits and that the department would work with the Hsinchu County Government to inspect the person’s work permit to see if “Eric” had broken the law.
“Moonlighting as a male stripper is obviously a violation of the law because he should only work as an English teacher as the work permit allows,” she said.
Foreigners who break the law the act would have their work permit revoked and be deported immediately, she said.
Information from the department showed that there are more than 30,000 foreign white-collar workers and more than 40,000 foreign laborers in Taipei. Chen said there was a lack of manpower for the inspection of foreign workers, with only three civil servants responsible for checking the work permits of white-collar foreign workers, while there are 27 staff who inspect the work status of blue-collar foreign laborers.
“Statistically, there are more legal violations by foreign laborers, but we will work harder to inspect the work status of foreign workers to prevent any violations from that group as well,” she said.
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