Foreign caregivers should be integrated into the national long-term care system, the Taiwan Association of Family Caregivers said yesterday, calling for contributions to the Employment Security Fund from households employing foreign caregivers to be used to train caregivers and hire substitutes.
Association members brandished cardboard hammers and stood next to a black box representing the Employment Security Fund, saying that it was unclear how funds were used to create jobs for caregivers affected by the influx of foreign labor.
“We think it is unreasonable that funds have been allocated for disabled people, but not for domestic caregivers,” association president Chen Chen-fen (陳正芬) said, adding that contributions to the fund from households employing foreign caregivers are pooled in general employment promotion.
Monthly contributions of NT$2,000 were made obligatory for households employing foreign caregivers, but the Ministry of Labor’s measures has fallen short, she said.
“They always say that foreign caregivers are supplementary, but that is not the case. In reality, the roles switched long ago — today, foreign caregivers form the primary labor force, while local caregivers are supplementary,” she said, calling the ministry “as tight-lipped as a dead duck” for being unwilling to admit its policy failure.
The association said the nation had 220,000 foreign caregivers, compared with 8,000 local caregivers.
Chen said the ministry could get more “bang for its buck” if it invested the contributions from households into paying Taiwanese caregivers to train and provide support for foreign caregivers, creating new jobs.
“Foreign caregivers and local caregivers should not be mutually exclusive — only if they are merged would there be an increase in number and stability“ of jobs available to local caregivers, she said, adding that allowing local caregivers to occasionally substitute foreign ones would reduce the pressure faced by foreign caregivers, who are often not allowed to take days off because of family’s heavy reliance on them.
The association also criticized legal provisions that forbid households who employ foreign caregivers from receiving subsidies to employ Taiwanese caregivers.
“Employers only hire foreign caregivers because they do not have any choice — the amount of resources invested by the government in long-term care is insufficient,” association secretary-general Chen Ching-ning (陳景寧) said.
“Households hiring foreign caregivers pay taxes like everyone else — they should not be treated as second-class citizens,” Chen Ching-ning said.
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