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June 28, 2017

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Labor Ministry to tackle issue of runaway foreign workers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Labor (MOL) said yesterday that in order to alleviate the issue of the increasing number of foreign workers on the run, it plans to amend the Employment Service Act to raise fines for employers and agents who break the law.

The MOL further noted that an amendment to the act was submitted to the Executive Yuan for review.

Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) is also scheduled to report to the Legislative Yuan today regarding the issue of foreign workers on the run.

According to a written report sent by the MOL to the Legislature, as of December 2013 there are 489,134 foreign laborers in Taiwan, 41,650 of whom are reported missing.

The MOL said the number of foreign workers has increased over the past five years. However, the government has limited manpower for inspections, so the number of cases of runaways has increased.

The ministry said the reasons foreign workers go missing include disputes over benefits, unacceptable working environments or an inability to get along with their employers.

The MOL said disputes between workers and the employers and the over-priced expense of agents are also possible reasons for foreign workers to run away from their jobs.

The Ministry said it will focus on educating employers regarding relevant regulations in the future, and it will inspect foreign laborers' working environments with the assistance of local governments.

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