No timetable to open hospitality sector to foreign workers
Ministry of Labor (MOL) minister Hsu Ming-chun is denying recent reports that the government is seeking to open the island's hotel industry to overseas migrant workers.
According to Hsu, the government currently has "no timetable" for such a move and her ministry's top priority remains the welfare of Taiwanese workers. The statement comes after it was reported the cabinet is planning to approve a plan to allow the hiring of migrant workers in the hotel sector, possibly beginning next year, in order to address an ongoing labour shortage.
The Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions has slammed the reported move - saying the government should instead focus on improving wages in the domestic hotel industry rather than "downgrade" Taiwan's labour environment by opening the sector to foreign workers.
The MOL minister says any plan to expand the migrant workforce in Taiwan must also go through the Workforce Development Agency's policy consultation committee and will be properly reviewed prior to any changes in current policy.
Government data shows the hotel industry is currently facing a shortage of more than 1,000 workers.
In unrelated labour news, the MOL says some 84,000 migrant workers remained unaccounted for as of the end of August after they illegally left their contractual employers. The ministry says 53,000 of the migrant workers are from Vietnam, 26,000 from Indonesia and the remaining 5,000 from other countries including the Philippines and Thailand.
The Workforce Development Agency says a majority of the unaccounted for migrant workers came to Taiwan to work in the manufacturing sector, while others were employed as caregivers and in the construction and agriculture sectors. Agency head Tsai Meng-liang says the number of unaccounted for migrant workers has risen since the government imposed border controls during the coronavirus pandemic and most of them illegally left their contractual employers in search of higher wages.
The MOL says it plans to amend the Employment Service Act to impose heavier punishments on employers who hire undocumented migrant workers and raise the fine to NT$1.5 million for brokers who unlawfully introduce migrant workers to employers.