Employers and brokers need to help migrant workers check that their legal duration of stay in Taiwan covers the same period as their work permits to avoid fines and penalties, the Ministry of Labor said.
The advisory was issued as the ministry is cracking down on migrant workers whose Alien Resident Certificates (ARC) have expired as one of its measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Taiwan has launched an amnesty program to encourage illegal migrant workers to turn themselves in to be deported without facing penalties.
Migrants’ ARC expiry dates might not cover the full duration of their work permits due to differences in regulations covering the two documents, the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) said in a statement on Thursday.
ARCs are issued based on provisions in the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法), followed mainly by the Ministry of the Interior, while work permits are based on the Employment Service Act (就業服務法), used by the Ministry of Labor, the agency said.
Lennon Wong (汪英達), director of a service center and shelter for migrant workers run by Serve the People Association in Taoyuan, said that he has a case where a Philippine migrant worker might have to leave Taiwan because of the legal inconsistency.
The worker, who has a valid work permit, has been accused of overstaying her ARC for two months because her broker forgot to update her new address and extend her ARC, Wong said.
The problem occurs because an ARC cannot expire after a foreign national’s passport does, he said.
“Many migrant workers have been overseas for so long that they have used up many years on their passport” by the time they apply for an ARC, Wong said.
Workers might only have two years left on their passports when they come to Taiwan, meaning the ARC is valid for only two years, while the standard work permit is valid for three years.
Problems could also arise if a migrant transfers to a new job, but their broker or employer forgets to update their ARC, Wong said.
“So when employers receive their new migrant worker’s work permit, they must go to the National Immigration Agency right away to update corresponding information and extend the validity of their worker’s ARC,” Wong said.
A WDA spokesperson said that the issuing of the advisory was not related to epidemic prevention, but because the agency just recently found that the difference in expiry dates was causing migrants to overstay their ARCs.
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