Taiwanese employers to pay placement costs for Indonesian migrant workers

Indonesian migrant workers may come to Taiwan at zero cost in the future

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--- Indonesian migrant workers coming to Taiwan may no longer need to foot the bill for contracts and agency fees in the future, said an Indonesian official yesterday.

According to Nurson Wahid, head of the National Agency for Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers (BNP2TKI), they are working to guarantee zero costs for those who are going to Taiwan for work.

The employers will be responsible for paying all the costs, including training costs, flight tickets, agency fees, health insurance and identity cards, for the migrant workers they are hiring.

"This is the first time in history that we make working in Taiwan zero-cost to our people," said Wahid during a press conference.

But the policy has not yet been open to all workers. It is currently restricted to caretakers who sign a contract with agencies approved by the Indonesian government and are going to work in hospitals. Wahid said that there are about 200 such workers going to Taiwan per year and he hopes to increase the scope of the scheme.

Some in Taiwan have raised questions about the increase of the hiring fee. Employers worry that the additional costs may become a burden to them.

To take care of the growing population of the elderly, more and more Taiwanese people have been recruiting workers from Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, to work as caretakers. Among the labor-exporting nations, Indonesia provides Taiwan with the most workers.

However, most of them have to afford the whopping settlement costs on their own and a large part of the salaries go to covering these costs. The Indonesian official said that they will make sure the zero-cost policy is supervised and implemented.

"We will work with Taiwan government to reach an agreement regarding to the zero-cost workers. This is what we must fight for," he said.