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Taiwan likely to open to Thai migrant workers next

Workers from Thailand have 'great opportunity' to be next nationality allowed to enter Taiwan

Thai workers celebrate Songkran in Taiwan in 2019. (MOFA photo)

Thai workers celebrate Songkran in Taiwan in 2019. (MOFA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Labor (MOL) is indicating that Thais will be the next nationality allowed to enter Taiwan as migrant workers following Indonesians.

MOL Workforce Development Agency Director-General Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良) on Nov. 11 confirmed an announcement the previous day by the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower that the first wave of Indonesian workers would be allowed to enter Taiwan from Nov. 11-23. Tsai emphasized that Taiwan is currently negotiating with the governments of the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand on allowing workers from those countries to enter too.

Tsai said that of those three countries, Thailand has already clearly committed to fully cooperating with Taiwan's epidemic prevention measures. Tsai said that for this reason, Thailand has a "great opportunity to be the next country that Taiwan will open (to migrant workers)."

According to the MOL, 1,700 rooms have been made available for the first batch of workers, and employers can log into the registration system to begin the process of bringing in foreign employees. This first group of 1,700 workers is to consist entirely of Indonesian nationals.

The MOL will allow migrant workers entry in accordance with a point-based system. Under the new scheme, points will be allotted based on a migrant worker's vaccination status, the COVID situation in their country, and the epidemic prevention plan of their prospective employer. The more points a foreign worker receives, the greater their priority for entry.

Before departing for Taiwan, workers must obtain a health certificate from their government, and this is to be presented to the local Taiwan representative office when they apply for a visa. Prior to boarding their flight, workers must be isolated in individual quarantine rooms for 72 hours.

In addition, the governments of workers' countries of origin are required to provide a list of up to 50 testing institutions, which they will submit to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) for approval to ensure the quality of their PCR tests.

The workers must undergo a PCR test before they can enter a training institution and before entering Taiwan. They must also undergo PCR testing once they enter the airport and before the end of their quarantine.

If the test near the end of the quarantine is negative, workers can begin seven days of self-health monitoring at a location designated by the MOL. During this period, they will also be subject to one rapid antigen test.

Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) on Monday (Nov. 15) announced that the first batch of Indonesian migrant workers can start entering Taiwan as soon as Wednesday (Nov. 17). Out of 109 Indonesian workers who have logged into the system, 96 have been assigned quarantine rooms, 11 could arrive as early as Wednesday, and all are applying to be caregivers.