TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Labor (MOL) is currently discussing a policy that will allow eligible migrant workers to apply for residency and will deliver an assessment report to the Cabinet by the end of March, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said on Monday (Jan. 10).
At a panel discussion in Kaohsiung City that focused on migrant worker issues, business representatives complained about the current shortage of workers and financial stress stemming from having to pay for migrant workers’ quarantine costs. Additionally, businesses also face the challenge of having to constantly train new workers after experienced workers are forced to leave Taiwan after meeting official deadlines, Liberty Times reported.
Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) said Taiwan’s migrant worker immigration policy is needed quickly. She suggested that the Cabinet should assess the impact of sub-replacement fertility and population aging in Taiwan as well as Taiwan’s economic development, and raise the number of migrant workers allowed into Taiwan in the next three to 10 years to better support Taiwan’s labor market.
Hsu responded by saying that it “won’t take too long” before the policy is ready, as it will protect the rights of migrant workers and prevent them from being “visiting laborers” forever, per Liberty Times. Under the program, skilled migrant workers who have been in Taiwan for six years or more and whose salary meets certain thresholds will be able to apply for residency.
As for quarantine costs, Hsu said the government already does cover some expenses. The MOL is also currently actively looking for more sources of migrant workers to address the labor shortage in Taiwan, Hsu was cited as saying.