Taiwan, Indonesia disagree on whether migrants’ employers should pay

Focus Taiwan
Date: 09/03/2020
By: William Yen and Shih Hsiu-chuan

Benny Rhamdani, chief of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Board

Taipei, Sept. 3 (CNA) In an attempt to protect its workers from exploitation, Indonesia has insisted that employers of its migrant workers, including those in Taiwan, must shoulder some of the placement fees which currently leave many Indonesians in deep debt and vulnerable to abuse, but Taiwan's Ministry of Labor (MOL) on Thursday responded by saying foreign governments should not decide labor agreements between their nationals and Taiwanese employers.

The dispute touches on a long-existing complaint from migrant workers and groups that advocate for their rights – that Taiwan's employers currently do not have to pay any of the pre-employment costs for the migrants, as the system currently allows brokers to exact fees only from the overseas laborers, who cannot afford to pay them and must go into debt to come to Taiwan for work.

In a statement to CNA, the MOL's Workforce Development Agency (WDA) said related expenses, such as air tickets, training and visa fees, that arise because of overseas jobs for migrant workers, should be agreed upon by the employer and worker, not the government in the worker's country of origin.

Furthermore, in an indication of its displeasure with the unilateral move by Indonesia, the WDA noted that Taiwanese employers can employ migrant labor from other countries.

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