Wed, Dec 07, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan National Congress calls for easing rules on hiring foreign helpers

RESTRICTED:Rules stipulate only families with a member who needs 24-hour care or who has specific mental and physical disabilities may employ foreign caregivers

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Taiwan National Congress (TNC) party yesterday urged the government to remove restrictions on employing foreign domestic helpers in view of the growing demand for such workers.

There is a high demand for caregivers and family helpers, but the terms for hiring eligibility are too strict, said Chen Chia-chun (陳嘉君), chairwoman of the TNC and wife of former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-te (施明德).

As both parents in more than half of the country’s families work, the government should allow easier access to foreign help, said Chen, a TNC legislator-at-large candidate in the Jan. 14 elections.

Under the current regulations, families that wish to obtain the services of foreign caregivers must meet either one of two requirements.

The first is a family member who is medically certified as requiring 24-hour care. The other is that a family member has mental or physical disabilities as specified in nine categories (including people in a vegetative state, or suffering from Alzheimer’s, autism, motor neuron diseases or Parkinson’s disease, etc).

Physician Hsu Ta-fu (許達夫) said the Barthel Index, which the Council of Labor Affairs uses to determine whether a family qualifies to obtain the services of a caregiver from abroad, is difficult to apply in certain medical situations and sometimes does not reflect the true condition of a patient.

As of the end of October, there were 196,755 foreign domestic helpers in the country, most of whom were from Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mongolia, according to the council’s data.

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