Representatives of the Taiwan International Workers’ Association and other groups yesterday gathered outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei to rally against a crackdown on undocumented migrant workers after reports that the nation’s 32nd COVID-19 case is an Indonesian who was working illegally as a caregiver.
If undocumented migrant workers are to be included in disease-prevention efforts, they should not be penalized or deported, but instead given an opportunity to regain legal status, the association said.
“Usually, no matter how this government exploits or excludes these so-called foreign workers, [people think that] ‘it has nothing to do with me,’” Hope Workers’ Center member Hsu Wei-tung (許惟棟) said. “But now, in the middle of an outbreak, everyone suddenly starts to have a high [level of] crisis awareness, realizing that these things are all related to them.”
Clamping down on undocumented migrant workers would be ineffective, said Chen Chiung-chih (陳炯志), a postdoctoral researcher at National Chiao Tung University’s International Center for Cultural Studies.
“If it were me, I think I would only hide more discreetly,” he said.
“Migrant workers run away because they cannot change employers freely and because of several layers of broker exploitation,” Domestic Caretakers’ Union Taoyuan secretary-general Grace Huang (黃姿華) said.
“Now, because of the real-name system for mask rationing, foreign workers who do not have National Health Insurance cards cannot purchase masks,” she said. “They have been exposed to a very serious risk of infection.”
“When you step up searches, foreign workers might conceal their identity and their condition,” National Association for Firefighters’ Rights secretary-general Chu Chih-yu (朱智宇) said.
“There are as many illegal employers as there are illegal foreign workers,” Taiwan International Workers’ Association member Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮) said. “What they provide is the cheap labor that Taiwan lacks.”
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Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease