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Law amendment cuts wait time to replace 'runaway' foreign caregivers

TAIPEI -- The Legislative Yuan passed an amendment yesterday that will allow employers of “runaway” foreign caregivers to hire a new caregiver after three months, a reduction from the original six-month wait.

Under the amendment to the Employment Services Act, employers are eligible to hire a new foreign caregiver after three months from the date they notify immigration and police authorities that a caregiver has deserted his or her lawful employment.

The changes will largely benefit the elderly and disabled in Taiwan, many of whom employ domestic caregivers from Indonesia and the Philippines to attend to their needs.

Taiwan was home to around 478,000 foreign laborers in 2013, but immigration figures show that the whereabouts of 41,637 runaway workers are currently unknown.

The new amendment requires employers to notify authorities within three days of foreign employee's absence without leave or without termination of employment.

It also relaxes restrictions on nursing homes, fishing businesses, and manufacturing and construction firms, allowing them to hire new foreign laborers six months after notifying authorities that a worker has disappeared or died. Businesses were previously barred from hiring replacements under those circumstances.

Employers whose foreign workers switch jobs through legitimate means are now able to apply to hire replacements without a waiting period.

The amendment has been pushed by lawmaker Yang Yu-hsin from the ruling Kuomintang, who is herself physically challenged, since her Indonesian caregiver deserted her in February last year.

Yang said that those in need will still find the three-month wait too long and that employers should not be punished for something they cannot prevent, but she agreed to compromise for the time being and push for further reform gradually.

Also on Tuesday, the Legislature passed a supplementary resolution calling for the Council of Labor Affairs, the National Police Agency and the National Immigration Agency to review their notification system for runway migrant workers.

1 Comment
December 12, 2013    kingsolomon@
The CLA should investigate thoroughly the reasons why these caregivers runaway. If an employer has a record of having foreign workers running away, then that would be very questionable. They should check on the human rights of these workers, because there's no reason for these foreign workers to run away from a stable income. Abusive employers should be fined and give remuneration to their abused foreign workers. If one reads the contracts signed by these workers, it's very, very clear that it is one-sided in favor of the employer with no rules of remuneration in case the employer violates the contract. The human rights of these workers should be a big concern for the CLA.
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