Taiwan Immigration Agency to actively track down illegal brokers and employers

Preventing unaccounted-for foreign workers from becoming victims is priority for 2018

NIA Director-General Jeff Yang (third from right, in black).(photo courtesy of NIA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The National Immigration Agency (NIA) will actively track down illegal brokers and employers while helping out unaccounted-for foreign workers, Director-General Jeff Yang (楊家駿) told the Chinese-language Liberty Times.

Most foreign laborers in Taiwan hail from Southeast Asian countries, and are sometimes victimized by labor brokerage agencies demanding high fees or by employers exploiting their position, reports said.

In an interview published Thursday, Yang said an estimated 25,000 Vietnamese citizens had become unaccounted for, while 23,000 Indonesians were in the same situation.

Those laborers might fall prey to people smuggling operators or could be controlled by drugs and drawn into organized crime, he said. The workers could also be exploited and forced into prostitution, Yang told the Liberty Times.

The NIA might be tracking down unaccounted-for workers, but it also saw itself as their protector, preventing them from falling into the hands of unscrupulous people, Yang said.

He added the NIA would set up a social safety network with close links to local communities, and use those connections to venture outside and seek out potential victims of exploitation.

Since last year, the NIA changed its priority to identifying illegal labor brokers and illegal employers as its prime targets. For 2018, the agency under the Ministry of Interior would reach out to foreign laborers at their favorite locations, Yang told the Liberty Times.