Taiwan Starts Accepting Filipino Migrant Workers on February 15 — Atty. Chavez

Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — Science & Digital News

Philippine official suggests to Taiwan government increasing salary of Filipino live-in caregivers and domestic helpers

By EDD K. USMAN

(SDN) — GOOD NEWS!

In times like today, the time of the SAR-CoV-2 curse of a pandemic, every bit of good news is great news.

This is Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan, used to be one of the world’s tallest buildings. (Photo: SDN — Science and Digital News)

For a good news has been a rare happening since December 2019 when the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) struck out of Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since the first Chinese person was infected that year, and now it’s already February 2022, the deadly virus has barreled across the world, infecting as of February 9 over 43 million people and more than 5.7 million killed. Recovered is at 321,158,433 million.

Close to home, that’s the Philippines, coronavirus cases is now at 3.62 million infected, fatalities at 54,590, and 3,472,150 recovered.

And the coronavirus has not stopped disrupting all aspects of lives so dear and not-so dear.

The good news, particularly for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and every one wishing to work abroad is that Taiwan will start accepting the entry of Filipino migrant workers on February 15.

Veteran broadcaster Noli “Kabayan” de Castro brought the good news through his morning program on “TeleRadyo” on Wednesday, February 9.

De Castro got the good news from Atty. Cesar Chavez., Jr., the Philippine labor attache and of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Taiwan.

Chavez informed the radio journalist the government of Taiwan will once again allow the entry of Filipinos, at the same time mentioning nice incentives for OWFs who will be deployed on the island nation.

Philippine Labor Attaché Atty. Cesar Chavez, Jr. to Taiwan. (Credit: Bahay OFW Radio on Facebook)

It can be recalled the self-ruled island nation of more than 23 million people suspended the entry of migrant workers due to the spike of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases. Taiwan subsequently made the suspension from May 15-21, 2021. Obviously, the deferment went on longer as the re-opening for Filipino migrant workers will only be on February 15.

The information was shared then by Acting Philippine representative to Taiwan Gilbert Lauengco per CNN Philippines. At the time of the suspension, around 5,000 OFWs ready to enter Taiwan were stranded in Manila.

Entrance of the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo: SDN — Science and Digital News)

Online news outlet Focus Taiwan said there are 143,181 Filipino migrant workers on the island nation. A total of 116,181 are working in productive industries while 26,396 are in social welfare, citing statistics from the Ministry of Labor (MOL).

Chavez said in the interview that migrant workers arriving in Taiwan will be placed on a 21-day quarantine but they will receive salary from their respective employers. It will be the employers who will settle their workers in quarantine facilities (number of arrivals will depend on availability of quarantine facilities).

When the island nation, which was globally lauded for its coronavirus measures, experience infection surge in 2021 quarantine facilities ran out of availability, prompting the government to defer accepting migrant workers as it prioritized returning citizens and those with residence permits.

Taiwanese employers to provide Covid-19 insurance for OFWs

“If the employer will not be able to pay the worker, then the Taiwanese government will pay for subsidy,” said Chavez. It was not  clear in the interview who will apply for the migrant workers’ subsidy, whether the worker or the employer.

With the many number of stranded workers in Manila, he said it would take from two to four months to deploy them all. He added that the Philippine government had already processed new manpower request numbering 46,954, with 30,000 to 35,000 in the pipeline. It would take five months to deploy all of them, he said.

He also told de Castro that Filipinos dominate the migrant workers’ number on the island nation, which is highly-regarded worldwide for its semiconductor industry.

“We expect that in the next two years they will need 100,000 more workers because of many companies’ expanding and several companies relocating from mainland China,” said Chavez.

He said OFWs wont’ have any problem in case of coronavirus infection because Taiwanese employers are required by their government to secure Covid-19 insurance for migrant workers for their medical or hospitalization needs.

Chavez called on his countrymen to observe and abide by their host country’s laws and regulations.

“We hope our countrymen will abide by the (coronavirus) guidelines (in our country) and in Taiwan. If there’s a violation it could result in a (deployment) ban,” he warned.

Earlier, before de Castro’s interview with Chavez, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan Chairman and Resident Representative Wilfredo B. Fernandez met with Taiwan MOL Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) on January 12, 2022.

It was at the meeting where it was learned that OFWs would soon be allowed back to the island nation.

“Taiwan closed its borders to most travelers except for citizens and legal residents on May 19 last year, as part of its response to a spike in domestic Covid-19 cases,” Focus Taiwan said.

In preparation for the return of Filipino workers the Taiwanese government set a number of requirements, including the accreditation of 50 Philippine Covid-19 testing centers, need for several coronavirus tests before deployment, and designating quarantine facilities.

Fernandez also took advantage of his meeting with Hsu to suggest to the latter giving Filipinos working in social welfare (live-in caregivers and domestic workers who are not covered by the Labor Standards Act) a raise in their salary.

Hsu responded that the matter would be brought to the attention of MECO. (✓)

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Featured image is a photograph of the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, built in 1976 and completed in 1980. It’s a tourist attraction visited by local and foreign tourists. Photographed by SDN — Science and Digital News in a tour during Computex 2017.

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