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Reward upped for reporting illegal workers

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) has changed the monetary reward system for people who report cases of illegal foreign workers from one based on “reward for each report of offense” to that of “reward per person involved in the case.”

The monetary rewards offered has consequently increased, from NT$5,000 for each report of an offense later proved true, to up to ten times that number for every illegal migrant worker caught.

Further, the discovery of employers who make illegal hires has been raised to NT$20,000 per person while uncovering illegal brokers will yield NT$50,000 each.

Following the recent accidental deaths of six illegal migrants on the Highway 6 construction site, the CLA is conducting a major crackdown on unlawful labor practices and has upped the remuneration as an incentive for people to report cases of illegal hires. Premier Wu Den-yi yesterday said there were around 33,000 illegitimate workers still at large.

Aside from increases in monetary rewards, the CLA will also make the sentences for those who violate fair labor laws even heavier. Employers of illegal workers will be subject to a minimum fine of NT$750,000, up from NT$150,000. Illegal job brokers will face a raised fine between NT$300,000 and NT$1.5 million, up from NT$100,000 to NT$500,000. For brokers who resume their unlawful practices within five years, the penalty has been raised from less than one year in prison to up to five years behind bars.

If the percentage of runaway workers exceeds a certain number, the job brokers responsible for those foreigners will also be prohibited from creating company branches and stripped of their business license when it expires, the council said.

Furthermore, the CLA is encouraging the surrender of runaway illegal migrant workers, establishing an outlet at the Ministry of the Interior where those who hand themselves in will be assisted with a passport and provided with the expenses for repatriation. Related officials will also help the workers reclaim their rightful salaries from their employers, if applicable.

With the help of the National Immigrations Agency (NIA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the CLA said it included in its budget for next year the creation of a fingerprints archive for all the runaway workers, which will make them traceable if they ever decide to reenter Taiwan.

The council also announced that it is contemplating revising foreign labor policies. Regulations that may need revision include the ability for migrant workers to change employers at will, extending the restrictions of a nine-year work period, allowing foreign workers to switch from blue to white collar jobs and cutting out the services of foreign brokers by allowing workers to stay in Taiwan for the duration of their employment without repeatedly exiting and entering the country.

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