The Legislative Yuan passed an amendment yesterday that will allow employers of “runaway” foreign caretakers to hire a replacement after three months, cutting down the original six-month waiting period by half.
Under the amendment to the Employment Services Act (就業服務法), employers are eligible to hire a new foreign caretaker three months after they notify immigration and police authorities that the caretaker has deserted their job.
The changes stand to benefit the elderly and disabled in Taiwan, many of whom employ domestic caretakers from Indonesia and the Philippines to help them with activities of daily living.
Immigration figures show that of the approximately 478,000 foreign workers who have come to Taiwan so far this year, the whereabouts of 41,637 are unaccounted for.
The new amendment requires employers to notify authorities within three days of a foreign worker being absent without leave or termination of employment.
It also relaxes restrictions on hiring foreign workers at nursing homes, fishing businesses, and manufacturing and construction firms, to allow these enterprises to hire a replacement six months after notifying authorities that a worker has disappeared or died.
The aforementioned types of employers were previously barred from hiring replacement workers under those circumstances.
The new rules also allow employers whose foreign staff switch jobs through legitimate to apply to hire replacements without delay.
The amendment was promoted by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Yu-hsin (楊玉欣) after her Indonesian caregiver deserted her in February last year.
Yang, who is physically incapacitated, said that although those in need of care will find that the three-month wait is still too long and employers should not be punished for something they cannot prevent, she agreed to compromise on the matter for the time being.
Yang added that she plans to continue to push for more comprehensive reform.
Also yesterday, the legislature passed a supplementary resolution calling on the Council of Labor Affairs, the National Police Agency and the National Immigration Agency to review their notification systems for runaway migrant workers.