The Ministry of Labor (MOL) on Wednesday hosted a meeting of labor groups and employment agencies to resolve their differences in opinion regarding service fees for migrant workers who want to renew their contracts after three years in Taiwan.
Labor brokers are not allowed to charge migrant workers another placement fee if they wish to renew their contracts after three years of employment, the ministry said.
That practice was banned in an amendment to the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) in 2016, which also lifted the requirement for blue-collar foreign workers to leave the country after three years.
However, many labor brokers in Taiwan have been urging the government to reconsider, citing rising operating costs as a major factor.
Brokers wanted the ban on a second placement fee revoked because of the time and costs involved in the contract renewal process, Workforce Development Agency Director-General Huang Chiu-kuei (黃秋桂) said after the meeting.
According to the Migrant Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT), foreigners seeking to renew their contracts in Taiwan are typically charged a service fee of NT$20,000 to NT$100,000 by labor agencies, even though such fees are banned if a worker has completed a previous contract or is renewing their contract with their current employer.
It is commonplace for brokers in Taiwan to charge the fee, known by migrant workers as “job-buying fees,” especially following the 2016 amendment to the Employment Service Act, MENT said.
The illegal practice is so pervasive that agencies know exactly how to avoid getting caught, MENT said, adding that it has brought up the issue with the ministry on many occasions, but nothing has been done.
Taiwan International Workers’ Association member Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮) said that brokers who complain about rising operating costs should disclose to the public the exorbitant fees they charge employers and migrant workers.
The ministry said it would continue its efforts to help bridge the two groups’ differences.
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