The Ministry of Labor Affairs yesterday called for the use of the maximum fine for employers of illegal foreign workers in the face of large numbers of absconders.
Labor Affairs Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) said he would urge local governments to impose the maximum fine of NT$750,000 on employers caught employing illegal foreign laborers and the maximum fine of NT$500,000 on brokerages providing illegal workers.
There are 480,000 foreign workers in Taiwan and the percentage unaccounted for has ranged between 3.1 percent and 4.1 percent over the past five years.
As of the end of January, the number of unaccounted for foreign laborers had reached 41,651 and according to the ministry they could pose a potential security problem, given the limited manpower available to crack down on them.
Pan sai that workers who abscond are usually seeking higher pay or are lured to illegal jobs by other foreign workers when their employment contracts are coming to an end. Some also run away because they have difficulty adjusting to their working environments or getting along with their employers or the families for whom they work.
Pan also said that brokerage agencies would be penalized if the number of unaccounted for foreign laborers on their books reaches a certain ratio. The agencies would not be allowed to set up additional branches, their licenses would not be renewed and they would be fined between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.
Pan made the remarks when the ministry delivered a report on unaccounted for foreign laborers to a legislative committee in Taipei.
The ministry is to establish an inter-governmental agency mechanism to crack down on offenders and would offer up to NT$50,000 in cash rewards for people who report illicit employers and brokerages on toll-free telephone number 0800-000-978.