Migrant workers would be prioritized for entry based on a points system that accounts for vaccine status, country of origin and accommodation as part of a plan to reopen to migrants by the end of the month, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) said yesterday.
Officials shared the plan while being questioned by members of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, who pressed the ministry on easing border restrictions for foreign workers amid a worsening labor shortage.
The point-based system, intended to reduce the strain on quarantine facilities, has already been submitted to the Central Epidemic Command Center for approval, Workforce Development Agency Director-General Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良) told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting.
Migrant workers seeking entry to Taiwan would be rated based on their vaccine status, the COVID-19 situation in their country of origin and the type of accommodation they would have after arriving, Tsai said.
Priority would be given to applicants with high scores who are therefore considered at low risk of spreading the virus, he added.
The number of vaccine doses an applicant had received would factor in the score, with a single dose still counting for a relatively high number of points, he said, adding that acceptable brands would be determined by the center.
High-scoring accommodations would be those in which the occupant has their own bathroom facilities and at most one roommate, while dorms with many shared facilities would receive fewer points, Tsai said.
The number of quarantine beds available each week would determine how many people would be allowed to enter the country, he said.
For instance, if there are 200 beds, the top 200 scorers would be allowed in that week, he said, but added that not many beds would be available at the start.
If two people have the same score, whoever turned in their application first would receive priority, Tsai said.
The measures are strict because many migrant workers come from countries facing severe COVID-19 outbreaks, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said.
Indonesia, for example, has been recording about 1,000 cases per day, while Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam are reporting thousands of cases daily, Hsu said.
The ministry does not want the policy to become a weak spot in the nation’s defenses against COVID-19, Hsu added.
Additional reporting by Chen Tzu-wen
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