The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) on Monday said it will step up efforts to get Taiwanese employers to directly hire Thai workers, but acknowledged it would be a challenge.
Only a few hundred Thais have been directly hired since employers were allowed to do so in 2008, Foreign Worker Administration Director Chen Jui-chia (陳瑞嘉) said.
Most Thai workers in Taiwan are employed in the manufacturing and construction sectors, where employers often need to hire many workers and find it inconvenient to look for workers and process the necessary paperwork on their own, opting to use manpower agencies instead, Chen said.
As of June, more than 60,000 foreign workers were directly hired, but more than 90 percent were domestic workers, he said.
Chen said the council will promote the benefits of direct hiring, as it promised to do at a recent Taiwan-Thailand labor conference, but he admitted the agency was limited to a public relations campaign because direct hiring is not compulsory.
Countries whose nationals work as migrant labor in Taiwan have wanted to streamline the hiring process to protect them from exploitation by manpower agencies and to cut out broker’s fees.
Chen said the direct-hire program benefits employers because directly-hired workers tend to be more loyal to their company and less likely to leave their jobs.
The 15th bilateral labor conference was held in Bangkok on Wednesday last week.
Among the topics discussed were increasing efforts to promote the direct hiring of Thai workers, inspection of high-risk workplaces and a review of manpower broker service fees.
Thai officials hope to reduce agency charges, but the two sides did not go into detail on the size of the reduction, Chen said.
He said the council has commissioned a study on the issue and will adjust fees for all foreign workers according to the results of the study, which is expected to be ready by the end of the year.
As of the end of last month, there were more than 465,000 foreign workers in Taiwan.
A total of 62,552 were from Thailand with all except about 800 of them working in the industrial sector, government statistics show.