Migrant workers protest brokerage system
Migrant workers have taken to the streets of Taipei to call for an end to the labour brokerage system.
The rally was organized by the Migrants Empowerment Network and took place around Taipei Main Station.
Participants, many of whom were wearing Halloween costumes, described brokers as "blood-sucking figures". The Catholic Hsinchu Diocese Migrant Worker Service Center sys brokers have abused the system since it was legalized in 1992 and while there are government-run Employment Service Stations, these are not helpful.
Center officials like Gracie Liu say brokers illegally charge fees of up to NT$90,000 for migrant workers to change jobs once their first three-year contracts run out, while the government-run faculties have a record of hurting workers' chances of changing jobs.
An official at the Workforce Development Agency has responded to the rally, saying employers can choose to directly hire migrant workers or through brokers. The official also says the government is negotiating with several countries, including Indonesia, on expanding the direct-hire program's scope to first-time workers.