2017-09-11

Amendment to Enhance Protection of Foreign Employees

Taiwan's Ministry of Labor will propose an amendment to the Employment Service Act (Act), which will be the most comprehensive amendment since the Act came into force 25 years ago.

The proposed amendment includes a stipulation that prohibits a household from hiring any foreign employees for a period of five years if an employer, care-receiver, or relative living in said household has sexually harassed or assaulted, engaged in human trafficking, or committed serious physical injury or killed a foreign employee within two years following the prosecution or deferred prosecution or sentencing for such acts. Recidivist offenders will be permanently prohibited from hiring foreign employees .

Statistics at the end of July 2017 show that the number of foreign employees in Taiwan had reached 658,000. With the growing numbers of foreign employees in Taiwan, the Ministry of Labor indicated that the Employment Service Act and current regulations do not provide adequate protection for foreign employees. The Employment Service Act only forbids employers from hiring foreign employees for two years after prosecution for sexual harassment or assault. Said article does not address other subjects, such as intermediaries or care-receivers who spend significant time with foreign employees. The proposed amendment covers acts by such intermediaries and would revoke such intermediaries license for such acts.

Currently, the Act stipulates that for each case of illegal recruitment in violation of the law, the recruiter will be fined NT$ 150,000 to NT$ 750,000. For the purpose of deterring employers from illegally recruiting workers, the penalty instead would be calculated based on the number of unlawfully recruited foreign employees when determining the fine.

In addition, certain restrictions on recruiting foreign employees will be lifted, such that foreign clergy will be permitted to enter Taiwan for missionary work with an invitation from religious groups, using a special religious visa issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rather than needing a work permit.

Also, foreign nationals who obtain permanent residency in Taiwan will not need a work permit for any particular occupation, and foreign students, overseas students, and ethnic Chinese students will be able to directly apply for work permits according to the proposed amendment.
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