The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) promised yesterday to probe a case in which a Filipino worker was allegedly forcibly deported.
“The council will probe the case of ‘Edward,’ and he will be given the option to switch to a new employer if he meets certain requirements,” council official Su Yu-kuo (蘇裕國) said.
Su was responding to charges leveled by the Taiwan International Workers Association that the council’s airport staff and the local government fail to protect foreign workers, citing the forced deportation of the Filipino man before a salary dispute was resolved.
According to the association, “Edward,” whose two-year contract was not due to end until Nov. 16, 2013, was forced aboard a flight home on Oct. 30 by someone representing his employer and police at Kaohsiung International Airport.
The Filipino worker reported a dispute with his employer over overtime pay to the council, but was still told last month that he was to be deported, according to Susan Chen (陳素香), the association’s secretary-general.
Local government workers, required under a council regulation to verify whether foreign workers have decided to end their contracts and leave the country voluntarily, said that “Edward” and his employer had resolved their dispute and he had decided that he wanted to leave, even though the worker refused to sign an agreement in this regard, Chen said at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan.
Chen also said that the council’s airport service that handles foreign workers’ complaints related to their departure did not work the way it should have before “Edward” was sent home.
Su said that the airport service is managed by an outside contractor and he promised to investigate.
Lin Chun-chieh (林俊傑), a section chief at the Chiayi County Social Affairs Bureau, which was responsible for the Filipino worker’s case, said getting foreign workers to sign agreements to be deported is not a required procedure.
Lin said the bureau based its handling of the man’s deportation on information from his employer, who said the worker had broken work rules.
However, Bruce Liao (廖元豪), an associate professor of law at National Chengchi University, said an employer’s decision to release a migrant worker does not mean the worker has to leave the country.
Under current regulations, migrant workers who terminate their work contracts can choose whether to switch to a new employer or leave, according to the association.