120 cases reported of foreigners working illegally in New Taipei hospitals over 5 years

120 cases reported of unaccounted for foreign workers employed illegally as caregivers in New Taipei hospitals since 2014

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(New Taipei Labor Affairs Department photo)

(New Taipei Labor Affairs Department photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A total of 120 cases of foreign workers being illegally employed as caregivers at hospitals in New Taipei City have been reported over the past five years, resulting in over NT$11 million in fines.

In recent years, there have been reports of illegal brokers in New Taipei hospitals issuing "government case" business cards in hospitals claiming that caregivers can "be at work tomorrow with one phone call." The market exists for illegal brokers because family members of the patients are in urgent need of someone to share the burden of caring for them, and they have no time to review the relevant laws or check the caregiver's documents.

Statistics show that from 2014 to the end of 2018, there have been 120 incidents in which employers have been found to be illegally staffing foreign caregivers in hospitals. The total fines imposed for these cases has reached NT$11.52 million (US$373,000).

According to the New Taipei City Government Labor Affairs Bureau, over the past five years, several New Taipei hospitals have been found to be illegally employing unaccounted for foreign workers as caregivers. The largest number of reported cases by one employer was Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital in New Taipei City's Taishan District, with 20 incidents, followed closely behind by the Tamsui Branch of Mackay Memorial Hospital at 19 reports.

Many unscrupulous business operators have been taking advantage of brokers to provide illegal foreign workers to members of the public in urgent need of care. Not only do these practices exploit foreign workers for profit, but they also inflict harm on the employers in terms of penalties.

Foreign workers are not only exploited in the process, but they also may fail to have regular health checkups because they have left their original employers. There is a concern that they may in turn spread diseases to their patients and create a loophole in epidemic prevention.

New Taipei City Government Labor Affairs Bureau Director Chen Jui-chia (陳瑞嘉) stressed that patients or family members who need to hire caregivers can contact their nursing stations for inquiries. If a self-proclaimed foreign spouse applies for a position, although it is not necessary to apply permission from the Ministry of Labor, it is important to check their residence permit and "original" documents such as family registration information, photos, and ID cards, said Chen.

Chen added that it is also important to take a photos of the documentation to keep a record and avoid hiring unaccounted for workers who are posing as new residents.