Act Lowering Threshold for Hiring White Collar Foreign Workers Not Passed

Act Lowering Threshold for Hiring White Collar Foreign Workers Not Passed
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The New Power Party is against the Ministry of Labor helping corporations reduce labor costs. It maintains a skeptical attitude towards the impact of this modified act, thinking that it would influence not only local white collar labors, but also those with low salaries.

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Translated by Wen-yee Lee

The Ministry of Labor recently modified the Employment Service Act for Foreigners Undertaking the Job, intending to lower the threshold for hiring foreign white collar workers, which is strongly opposed by Taiwanese labor groups. They worry that introducing white-collar labors would worsen youth poverty.

On January 21, the New Power Party (NPP) called upon President Ma’s government, saying that the government should not deteriorate Taiwan’s labor market before Tsai’s inauguration in May.

Legislator Kuan Bi-ling says the Ministry of Labor did not pass the modified draft of the act this morning, and the Workforce Development Agency still needs to continue collecting data and keep negotiating.

Liberty Times reports, the current regulation shows that foreign white collar labors must have two years working experience and their monthly salaries should be more than NT$47,971 (approximately USD$1,426.95) to work in Taiwan. Their employers also have a minimum capital and revenue limit.

The Ministry of Labor declared at the end of last year that they would relax the regulations restricting foreign white collar, blue-collar workers and overseas Chinese students, and cancel the limit of employer’s capital and revenue. The Ministry of Labor has decided to change the criteria of working experiences and salaries into points system; a foreigner can work in Taiwan once the person’s overall points regarding their education background, language abilities and professional ability reach more than 60 points. This new regulation is estimated to be implemented within one month and does not need to be approved by the Legislative Yuan.

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CNA reports, regarding this, NPP released a statement saying that the Ministry of Labor only issued a press release on December 30 responding to labors from China, but did not mention anything about the impact of foreign white collar labors and attempted to force through the modified act.

Apple Daily reports, NPP was against the Ministry of Labor helping corporations reduce labor costs. They maintain a skeptical attitude towards the impact of this modified act, thinking that it would influence not only local white-collar labors, but also those with low salaries.

ETtoday reports, NPP calls on the Ministry of Labor to withdraw their executive order regarding this modified act. The party also says to the newly elect Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that it should realize its commitment, which promises to withdraw this executive order, re-discuss the standard salary adjustment and review Taiwan’s labor environment.

DPP legislator Lin Shu-fen also expressed opposition on her Facebook post, saying that the Taiwanese government in the past introduced foreign blue collar workers to supply shortages of “3D” jobs (“Dangerous, Dirty and Difficult”), which have led to the increase of the foreign blue collar population. This has met the need of low labor costs, but has exacerbated the risk of low pay. Besides, the government does not regard the basic human rights of foreign workers as an important issue, which has led to foreign blue-collar workers exposed to high occupational hazard.

Lin says that President Ma’s government seized the opportunity during the adjournment of the Legislative Yuan to announce they would like to modify a draft for the act, and the Executive Yuan even asked to implement the act by the end of January. She doubts that Ma’s government just wants to meet corporations’ need of low labor costs.

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Edited by Olivia Yang
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