• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan sees decline in migrant worker numbers

Government report shows drop in April and cites pandemic-related border control policies

Migrant workers on a fishing boat in Taiwan.

Migrant workers on a fishing boat in Taiwan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — There were 666,000 migrant workers in Taiwan at the end of April, representing a decrease of 6.6% from the same time last year, due mainly to the government’s pandemic-related border control policies, a government report shows.

Taiwan primarily accepts migrant workers from five Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. In late April, Vietnamese, Indonesians, and Filipinos accounted for 35%, 34%, and 21.2%, respectively, of the migrant figures, according to the Director-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.

Among them, 67% were employed as industrial workers and 33% as caregivers or domestic workers. Industrial workers are mostly employed at Taiwan’s factories and construction sites, while social welfare migrant workers include domestic helpers and caregivers.

Industrial migrant workers mostly come from Vietnam, comprising 45.2% of the nation's 446,000 industrial migrant workforce, with the Philippines (25.9%) second. Meanwhile, Indonesians accounted for 75.7% of the approximately 220,000 social welfare migrant workers, a steep drop of 10.3% compared with last year.

April figures show migrant workers mainly resided in Taoyuan City (114,000), Taichung (100,000), and New Taipei City (87,000), accounting for 45% of Taiwan's total number of migrant workers. These three counties and cities have the largest number of industrial migrant workers.

Taipei City has the largest number of social welfare migrant workers (37,000), followed by New Taipei City (36,000), and Taichung (23,000), according to the labor ministry.

Migrant workers first started coming to Taiwan in 1992, when the labor-intensive industries that supported Taiwan’s economy boomed, according to the parliament library.