Sat, Sep 07, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Foreign workers to arrive as part of agriculture plan

RULE CHANGE:More than 300 are to arrive in a trial of regulations that allow dairy businesses and farmers’ groups to each hire 400 foreigners for up to 12 years

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

To address a shortage of agricultural workers, more than 300 foreigners are to arrive in Taiwan over the next two months as part of a government plan, the Council of Agriculture’s Department of Farmers’ Service said on Thursday.

To help alleviate the shortage, the Ministry of Labor in April loosened restrictions on hiring foreign agricultural workers.

On May 8, the council began accepting applications from farmers’ groups and as of Wednesday, it had received 106, the department said.

Twenty-two applications for 207 workers had been approved, it said, adding that they were reviewed by a committee of central and local government officials and agricultural experts.

The first foreign agricultural workers to be recruited by farmers’ groups are expected to arrive next month, after the ministry grants permits, the department said.

The council has also approved applications from 109 dairy businesses to recruit 109 foreign workers, who are expected to arrive this month, it said.

In a trial of the regulations, farmers’ groups and dairy businesses are each allowed to hire 400 foreign workers for three-year terms that can be renewed for up to 12 years, it said.

The council is to report to the ministry next year on the progress of the trial programs, the department said, adding that it would decide whether to expand or shrink the program after a cross-border labor policy committee meets in the first quarter.

In related news, an initial group of young Indonesian farmers is expected to arrive this month for an internship program after Taiwan signed an agreement with Indonesia late last month.

Fifty-four interns are to work at 45 farms and receive US$600 per month for living costs.

The arrangement includes Taiwan accepting 300 agricultural interns from Indonesia per year for one-year programs that can be extended by a year.

All interns in the program are graduates of agricultural high schools.

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