Legislators yesterday accused government officials from various law enforcement, intelligence gathering and criminal investigation agencies of negligence and lack of coordination, which they said has resulted in more than 70,000 foreign nationals going missing and being unaccounted for.
National Immigration Agency (NIA) Director-General Mo Tien-hu (莫天虎) said his officers have encountered problems in tracking down foreign laborers who have left their place of employment, but are in Taiwan working illegally.
Answering questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) during a meeting of the the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Mo said that about 51,000 foreign laborers went missing last year, adding that the “imported workers,” who had been hired on mandated three-year employment contracts, mostly came from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
In addition, there are about 20,000 foreign nationals from other parts of the world who entered Taiwan on short-term or tourist visas who are unaccounted for and have either overstayed their visa or are working illegally, he said.
“There are a total of about 71,000 foreign nationals missing or hiding in Taiwan,” Mo said.
“We do not know what they are up to or who they are working for. This is a serious situation and is endangering our national security,” Chiang said.
Chiang criticized NIA and National Security Bureau officials, saying that the former is in charge of immigration and entry of foreign nationals, including tracking their visa expiration dates, while the latter is responsible for surveillance, monitoring and intelligence-gathering on foreigners who might pose a security threat to the government and society.
“Information provided by officials and citizens suggest that at least half of the missing foreign workers are Vietnamese. They likely left their place of employment to work illegally elsewhere for higher salaries,” Chiang said.
“Why we are still importing so many foreign workers each year? The NIA and other agencies must work together to stem the problem by working with the Vietnamese government to reduce the quota of imported workers,” Chiang said.
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