Taiwan's top watchdog body to investigate safety, rights of migrant caregivers

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An event was held in 2014 to call for justice for foreign caregivers and migrant workers. 

An event was held in 2014 to call for justice for foreign caregivers and migrant workers.  (CNA photo)

Two members of the Control Yuan, the watchdog branch of the government, said Monday they will launch an investigation into whether government agencies are doing enough to guarantee the safety and rights of migrant caregivers in Taiwan, especially with regards to incidents that involve alleged sexual assault or harassment.

Foreign caregivers are an important labor force in Taiwan, and a vital resource in the nation's long-term care sector, but their safety and working conditions are often overlooked, Control Yuan members Yeh Ta-hua (葉大華) Wang Mei-yu (王美玉) said in a statement.

The investigation is necessary because when migrant caregivers are confronted with sexual assault or harassment from their employers, often they are too scared to report incidents for fear of retaliation or losing their job, Yeh said.

Even if they do file a report, labor brokers on many occasions either ignore the case or threaten them to remain quiet or risk being deported back to their countries of origin, Yeh said.

Issues such as the management of migrant caregivers and how to ensure they can more easily seek help while guaranteeing their work in Taiwan are some of the questions that need to be answered, the Control Yuan official said.

Most importantly, the investigation will check if government agencies responsible for managing migrant worker manpower agencies are in compliance with fair employment principles promoted by the International Labor Organization.

According to Ministry of Labor statistics, there were 700,800 migrant workers in Taiwan as of the end of July, of whom 254,515 were working as caregivers.