New law to set limit on monthly service fee for migrant workers

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Workforce Development Agency said Monday that an amendment setting a ceiling on the amount brokers can charge migrant workers for their monthly "service fee" is likely to take effect in April.

An amendment to the Employment Service Act came into force last year, eliminating the requirement for migrant workers to leave Taiwan after working for three years. However, the monthly brokerage service fee charged to migrant workers on their extension remained in place and has become the source of new disputes

According to current rates, the maximum monthly service fee migrant workers can be charged during their first year of extended stay is NT$1,500, if they work for the same employer. Those who switch their jobs will need to pay up to NT$1,800 per month.

Considering the fact that departure paperwork and re-entry visas are no longer necessary, it has been argued that the monthly service fee should be reduced since migrant workers have little or no need to consult their brokerage agents during their extension. 

According to the labor union TIWA (the Taiwan International Workers' Association), many brokers charge migrant workers the monthly service fee without providing any assistance. "Service fees should not be charged if there are no services provided," they added.