Taiwan shuts doors on Pinoy workers

300px-taiwan_flag_large.pngFilipino domestic helpers and other skilled workers will be barred from working in Taiwan starting next year. Last week, Taiwan’s Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) announced plans to exclude the Philippines from the 80,000 quota for migrant workers, according to Jackson Gan, president of the Filipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan.

“The CLA already posted in its Web site that Filipinos are not qualified to apply for the 80,000 visas to be given to migrant workers, and thus they can no longer work there,” he said.

Gan said he suspects that Taiwan is enforcing the ban in retaliation for close Philippines ties with China.

“(The) Taiwanese seem to be saying since you are friendly with China, you better get jobs from them. But the truth is Taiwan is providing more jobs for Filipinos than China,” he said.

Labor Secretary Arturo Brion and POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz flew to Taiwan Wednesday to try to resolve the planned ban on Filipino workers.

Gan said for next year, the CLA has allocated 80,000 visas for foreign workers, classified as “3Ds” or those working in jobs considered as “difficult, dirty and dangerous.”

Included in this category are domestic helpers, caretakers, factory workers, and construction workers, he added.

Gan said an average of 35,000 Filipino workers are being sent to Taiwan every year.

“While there are job categories, the country’s annual deployment to Taiwan amounts to 35,000 workers,” he said.

Last month, Taiwan slowed down the processing of visa applications of Filipino workers, which led to a 30 percent drop in the deployment, he added.

Gan said the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), Taiwan’s unofficial embassy, has asked the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to suspend the licenses of 50 agencies deploying workers to Taiwan for submitting falsified documents in applying for visas.

“TECO has been claiming that the rampant use of falsified documents was the reason behind the slowdown in hiring of Filipino workers, but we believe this is just a smokescreen,” he said.

– Mayen Jaymalin

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