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July 22, 2017

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Lawmaker opposes proposed gov't quota on foreign labor

TAIPEI--An opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker and a group of activists voiced concerns yesterday over a government proposal to increase the foreign labor quota from 35 percent to 40 percent as part of efforts to attract overseas Taiwanese investors.

DPP Legislator Cheng Li-Chiun said at a news conference that she welcomes the initiative to attract overseas Taiwanese businessmen to return to the country, but added the planned increase to the foreign worker quota is a wrong approach.

The proposal suggested by the Council for Economic Planning and Development on Aug. 30 will only worsen the issues of low salary, unpaid leave and high unemployment in Taiwan, Cheng said.

Using the plan to help the country's economy is akin to quenching one's thirst with poison, said Sun Yu-lien, secretary-general of Taiwan Labor Front, who also attended the news conference.

Sun urged the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) to review the proposal as the number of foreign labors has already reached a record high of 440,000, and said the government should stop using foreign workers as bargaining tools to achieve some purpose.

In response, Shiue Jain-jong, a section chief from the Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training under the CLA, said that companies will only be able to hire more foreign workers if there are actual vacancies, as the proposal was merely based on supplementary principles.

The issue of increasing the quota has yet to discussed on a platform that will include the CLA, CEPD, academics, politicians and representatives from employer and labor groups, he said.

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