An increasing number of Vietnamese workers are working illegally in Taiwan after leaving their original workplaces in search of higher-paying jobs, the Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said.
Since 2003, about 6,000 Vietnamese workers have absconded each year from their workplaces in Taiwan. However, the figure shot up to about 11,000 in 2010 and last year, according to statistics recently published by the ministry.
In 2010 and last year, 48 Vietnam-based labor brokerages were found to have 2,000 such workers in Taiwan on their books.
These agencies were stripped of their operating licenses by the Taiwanese or Vietnamese authorities.
At present, there are about 15,000 Vietnamese working illegally in Taiwan, according to the Vietnam Economic Times.
Workers generally run away from their original employers in search of higher-paying jobs so that they can cover the high fees they paid to the labor brokers, the report said.
Under current regulations, a worker is required to pay an agency US$4,500 to obtain a three-year work contract in Taiwan.
However, most agencies actually charge each worker between US$5,000 and US$6,000, or even as much as US$7,000.
One labor broker said the differences in the official and actual fees are the result of the highly competitive labor market, since many workers are willing to pay more in fees to obtain higher-paying jobs.
Many workers then continue to work illegally in Taiwan after their contracts end to help make up for the fees they paid, while others switch to higher-paying jobs while still working under their original contract, the source said.
Officials from the ministry vowed to step up their efforts to regulate the labor brokers.
Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Hoa said that under existing laws, an agency cannot charge a three-year work contract applicant more than US$4,500 in contract fees and no more than US$1,500 in commission fees.
To reduce the instances of workers absconding, company owners can make workers pay a deposit, at a maximum of US$1,000, he said.