Workers’ groups on Tuesday called on the Ministry of Labor to drop a plan that would require migrant workers planning to change jobs to go through a government-run employment service agency, with priority being given to workers transferring to a similar line of work.
Given the rising number of foreign caregivers transferring to industry jobs, the ministry announced plans to amend the Directions of the Employment Transfer Regulations and Employment Qualifications for Foreigners Engaging in the Jobs Specified in Items 8-11, Paragraph 1, Article 46 of the Employment Services Act (外國人受聘僱從事就業服務法第46條第1項第8款至第11款規定工作之轉換雇主或工作程序準則) to govern such transfers.
The proposed changes would require foreign workers planning to change jobs to apply with a public employment service agency, which would draft a three-party agreement between the worker, the former employer and the new employer.
A group of foreign workers on Tuesday staged a protest against the proposed changes in front of the ministry building in Taipei.
Many people think that foreign workers wanting to change jobs are “jumping ship” or “cheating their employers,” but what is really driving them is the poor environment for long-term healthcare workers, Taiwan International Workers’ Union member Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮) said.
Caregivers earn just NT$566 a day, with long working hours and little to no leave, she said.
The ministry had promised to hold public hearings about the amendment, but have failed to follow through, she said.
Long-term healthcare workers have a hard job and many receive below minimum wage, with no days off, said a Filipina called Lovely, adding that many hope to transfer to factory jobs where they can receive regular pay.
The union called on the ministry to halt the amendment process and convene public hearings to hear their concerns.
Taiwanese law should offer better protection to foreign caregivers and step up efforts to rectify flaws in the nation’s long-term healthcare system, it said.
The ministry said the proposal was prompted by concern over the sharp increase in foreign workers transferring to other types of work, with official statistics showing that for the first five months of this year, 1,751 foreign caregivers had shifted to factory jobs, from 287 for the whole of last year.
The ministry added that it has never prohibited foreign workers, including victims of human trafficking, sexual harassment or assault and physical mistreatment, from seeking employment in other lines of work if their future employer could submit the proper paperwork.
All suggestions regarding the proposed amendments are welcome until Aug. 9, the ministry said.
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