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NIA urges Vietnamese workers on the run to surrender before Mar. 10

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The National Immigration Agency (NIA) yesterday urged Vietnamese workers on the run in Taiwan to surrender themselves to police as soon as possible, noting that they may be exempt from punishment should they do so before the March 10 deadline.

Many workers obtained permission to work in Taiwan legally, but have not fulfilled their contracts with employers.

The Vietnam government in October 2013 increased fines for laborers deported back to Vietnam and gave a three-month grace period before the new regulations were implemented on Jan. 21 of this year.

The NIA explained that the Vietnam government will levy a fine to runaway workers between NT$120,000 and NT$150,000, which is almost 10 times a Vietnamese worker's monthly salary in Taiwan.

After being deported back to Vietnam, runaway laborers will also be prohibited from working abroad again for two to five years, the NIA said, noting that it is a rather heavy punishment for Vietnamese workers.

Ever since the Vietnam government announced the new policy last October, there has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of Vietnamese workers on the run turning themselves in to police, the NIA said.

The NIA said 199 workers surrendered themselves to police last September, noting that after the policy was announced, 952 Vietnamese laborers turned themselves in last December, decreasing the number of runaway Vietnamese workers.

However, the agency went on to say that according to last December's statistics, there are still 19,562 Vietnamese laborers illegally staying in Taiwan. Therefore, the NIA has been communicating with the Vietnam government and successfully had them agree to extend the grace period to March 10.

The NIA urged Vietnamese laborers on the run to seize the opportunity and proactively turn themselves in to police as soon as possible, or else they will face heavy fines when they eventually return to Vietnam.

The agency said runaway laborers can seek a nearby specialized operation brigade or the NIA to report themselves, stressing that the authority will not put them up overnight.

Workers on the run also have to pay a fine of NT$10,000 at most and pay for their own plane ticket to Vietnam, the NIA said, adding that it will not charge them with any administration fee but will only help them to fill out the relevant documents.

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