Agencies still charge steep fees, migrant workers say

‘FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT’: The labor ministry and the president claim that workers no longer pay ‘service fees,’ but agencies charge up to NT$80,000, a labor group said

Taipei Times
Date: Dec 17, 2018
By: Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

About 100 migrant workers and labor rights advocates yesterday protested outside the

Taiwan International Workers’ Association members and migrant workers protest outside the Ministry of Labor in Taipei yesterday.  Photo: CNA

Ministry of Labor, demanding that it eliminate illegal service charges collected by employment agencies.

Migrants seeking jobs in Taiwan are typically charged a service fee of NT$80,000 to NT$150,000 by labor agencies, even though such fees are banned if a worker has completed their previous contract or is renewing their contract, Taiwan International Workers’ Association director of policy research Chen Hsiu-lien (陳秀蓮) said at the protest.

The practice is so pervasive that “if they do not pay the fee, they will not get a job,” she said.

While a provision in the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) requiring foreign blue-collar workers to leave the nation every three years was abolished in October 2016 to prevent foreign employees from being repeatedly charged service fees, many are now charged even more by agencies that know exactly how to avoid getting caught, she said.

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