Fri, Apr 20, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Foreign caregivers could swamp market: minister

Staff writer, with CNA

Allowing all senior citizens over the age of 80 to employ foreign caregivers would make Taiwan over-reliant on foreign labor, Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said yesterday in response to calls by some lawmakers and members of the public to ease restrictions on the hiring of foreign caregivers.

If all 500,000 Taiwanese aged over 80 were allowed to hire foreign caregivers, the number of such workers in the country could rise from the current 420,000 to more than 1 million, Wang said.

In the long run, Taiwan would become overly dependent on migrant workers, which would cause imbalances in the supply of local labor, she said.

Wang said the council would review the restrictions from the perspectives of the long-term development of the nation’s caregiving system and the protection of local workers’ jobs.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Yu-hsin (楊玉欣) suggested yesterday that the council extend its foreign caregiver eligibility rules to include severely physically disabled people aged over 50 and households with two moderately physically disabled members of any age.

In response, Wang said an inter-ministerial meeting would be held early next week to review the terms of eligibility.

Currently, applicants seeking to obtain foreign caregiver services are evaluated using the Barthel Index, under which eligible applicants have to be almost totally unable to carry out the activities of daily life in order to qualify.

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