Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday urged the Ministry of Labor to crack down on labor brokers that charge illegal fees for the transfer of migrant workers to other employers, saying that this would help Taiwan become a “slave-free nation.”
DPP Legislator Michelle Lin (林楚茵) told a news conference in Taipei that she had received multiple complaints about brokers charging thousands to tens of thousands of New Taiwan dollars to process the transfer of migrant workers.
Lin cited as examples a case in which an agent, during a recorded conversation, asked an Indonesian worker to pay NT$25,000 for the processing of their transfer request and another case in which an agent asked a Vietnamese worker to pay NT$10,000 for employment papers.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Most workers paid the additional fees, she said.
With COVID-19-related restrictions since May barring prospective workers from entering Taiwan, such practices might have gotten worse, Lin said.
The ministry must crack down on the practices, which some international organizations call slave labor or slave trade, she said.
There are no statistics about their prevalence in Taiwan, which prevents effective prosecution, Lin added.
DPP Legislator Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) said that some agents are emboldened to extort migrant workers whose access to documents is impeded.
The agents usually hide the practice from potential employers, Hung added.
Migrant workers should be given access to the needed forms — including employment licenses and documents to prove that they are not working anymore for their previous employers, he said.
The forms should be available for download, or workers should be able to apply for them online, Hung added.
The ministry should step up measures to investigate brokers engaged in illegal practices and shut them down, he said.
DPP Legislator Lai Pin-yu (賴品妤) said that migrant worker transfer procedures should be simplified and a multilingual platform should be set up to inform them of their rights.
The platform should include regulations and download links to documents that migrant workers frequently need, Lai said.
The platform should also allow companies to register their newly hired workers with local governments, she said.
Agents can only charge NT$1,500 to NT$1,800 in service fees per worker per month, she said, citing the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) and the Standards for Fee-charging Items and Amounts of the Private Employment Services Institution (私立就業服務機構收費項目及金額標準).
Brokers breaching these regulations would have their licenses revoked as the most severe penalty, Lin said.
Workforce Development Agency Deputy Director-General Lin Hong-de (林宏德) said that workers who have experienced extortion should call the 1955 hotline to file a complaint.
The ministry is planning to implement next year a system that would make it easier for workers to access the required documents, Lin said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
LUCKY DATE: The man picked the 10th ‘Super Red Envelope’ in a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10 A man who recently broke up with his girlfriend won a NT$1 million (US$32,929) prize in the “NT$20 million Super Red Envelope” lottery after picking a card based on the date of their breakup, Taiwan Lottery Co said yesterday. The man, in his 20s, bought the 10th ticket at a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10, the store owner told the lottery company. The “Super Red Envelope” lottery was a limited offering by the company during the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended yesterday. The cards, which cost NT$2,000 each, came with
TOURISM BOOST: The transportation system could help attract more visitors to the area, as the line is to connect multiple cultural sites, a city councilor said Residents in New Taipei City’s Ankeng District (安坑) said the local light rail system might have a positive influence, but raised questions about its practicality. The Ankeng light rail system, which is to commence operations after the Lunar New Year holiday, would cut travel time for commuters from Ankeng to downtown Taipei or New Taipei City by 15 to 20 minutes, the city government said. According to the initial plan, there would be one train every 15 minutes during peak time and additional interval trains would run between the densely populated Ankang Station (安康) and Shisizhang Station (十 四張). To encourage people to
CHAMPION TREES: The team used light detection and ranging imaging to locate the tree, and found that it measured a height of 84.1m and had a girth of 8.5m A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia. The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪). A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the