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Taiwan, Indonesia planning talks regarding labor cost dispute

New regulations, coronavirus concerns major hurdles for Taiwan to resume importing Indonesian labor

Indonesian caregiver in Taiwan 

Indonesian caregiver in Taiwan  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan and Indonesia will prepare this week for a meeting to be held before 2021 regarding migrant worker settlement costs, which will be an extra burden on Taiwanese employers once Jarkata's new labor regulations go into effect on Jan. 1.

Indonesia announced new measures in July asking foreign employers to shoulder the cost of ten categories of migrant workers planning to work abroad, spanning 11 types of fees including for workers’ health exams, visa applications, flight tickets, and brokerage services. Taiwan has vehemently rejected these rules.

Labor authorities from both nations will work out details this week for a formal meeting expected to take place at the end of this year, according to the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia.

The negotiations will broach the subjects of workers’ settlement costs and wages, taking into account the supply and demand of the migrant worker market, said Lin San-quei (林三貴), Taiwan's vice labor minister. While acknowledging that the higher salary prospects in Japan and South Korea have left Taiwan ill-positioned in the upcoming negotiations, he said Taiwan will not accept every condition stipulated by Indonesia, wrote CNA.

Taiwan has blocked the entry of Indonesian workers since Dec. 2 amid a surge of COVID-19 cases among laborers from the archipelagic country. As Indonesians make up the majority of caregivers in Taiwan, it is facing labor shortage woes.

To address the lack of workforce, Taiwan is currently in talks with other Southeast Asian countries for new sources of laborers. A task force will push for the inking of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with prospective nations, with new workers from these nations expected to be introduced starting 2022.