Regulations on the employment of foreign caregivers have been eased and will take effect later this month at the earliest, according to the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA).
Under the new regulations, people over 80 years old who score less than 60 on the Barthel scale — an index that assesses a person’s ability to perform daily functions — will be eligible to hire foreign caregivers.
The regulations will take effect in the middle of this month at the earliest, said Fu Hui-chih (傅慧芝), a foreign worker management section chief at the council.
It is estimated that 33,000 senior citizens will benefit from the regulation changes, she said.
Under current regulations, people can apply to the council for one foreign caregiver if they have a dependent relative who is seriously disabled mentally or physically, need round-the-clock care based on a medical assessment, or score under 35 on the Barthel scale.
If a person does not meet these requirements, regardless of their age, family members are not allowed to apply for a foreign caregiver.
The nation’s long-term care system has been plagued by the high cost of hiring local caregivers, strict requirements for recruiting foreign caregivers and insufficient nursing homes for the elderly.
To address the issues, the council invited officials from the Department of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, labor groups and academics to a meeting in April to discuss the easing of regulations on hiring foreign caregivers.