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June 28, 2017

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Over 10,000 new foreign workers to arrive soon: CLA

By Ann Yu--According to the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), more than 10,000 more foreign workers will be added in the near future.

The CLA yesterday assembled a committee to draft future policies on the hiring of foreign workers for Taiwan-based companies. While the council has decided to increase the maximum number of foreign workers for "3K" industries, it has also devised a mechanism that protects the rights of domestic workers from exploitation.

3K is a term referring to industries with a reputation of being dangerous, filthy, laborious and often filled with foreign workers, such as in care for the terminally ill, printing and metal forging. Domestic workers usually decline such jobs for better working conditions.

While industries have complained about a shortage of employees, requesting the government to lift regulations on the limit of foreign workers, the council said it is also looking to strike a balanced policy that protects the domestic workers' rights.

Twenty-three officials from the business, education, labor and government sectors gathered for the meeting, led by CLA Deputy Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) and Lin San-quei (林三貴), director-general of the council's Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training.

While nine industries' maximum limit for the employment of foreign workers was increased, three new industries were also given limits. The maximum limit of foreign workers for plastic safety helmets manufacturer was 20 percent, while the limit for cleaning and cosmetic product manufacturers was 15 percent.

In efforts to protect domestic laborers, the CLA has also devised a mechanism that requires employers to pay fees toward the Employment Stability Fund in accordance to the ratio of increased foreign workers.

"Our goal is aimed at preventing labor shortages but at the same time to provide equal job opportunities for the domestic workers," the council said.

For an increase below 5 percent of foreign workers, employers will be obliged to pay NT$6,000 to the employment stability fund each worker. For increases of 6 to 10 percent, employers will need to pay a fee above NT$10,000; and for an increase of 10 to 15 percent, the fee will exceed NT$140,000. The number of foreign workers cannot exceed 40 percent of the factories' total workers.

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