Control Yuan Urges Reform of Foreign Caregiver Training and Rights


The Ministry of Health and Welfare requires that sputum suction be performed by medical personnel, but a Filipino caregiver in New Taipei City was asked to perform this task. Feeling fearful, she requested to terminate her employment contract and switch employers, but her employer refused. The New Taipei City Health Bureau did not investigate the matter and concluded that the caregiver was not required to perform sputum suction. As a result, her employment permit was revoked, and she was sent back to her home country. The Control Yuan has issued a correction to the New Taipei City Health Bureau and urged the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Labor to review the professional training system for foreign caregivers and assess the number of care recipients who require sputum suction and the available resources.

Control Yuan members Ji Hui-rong and Wang You-ling pointed out that the Ministry of Health and Welfare has stated that foreign caregivers are not allowed to perform invasive medical procedures such as sputum suction. Caregivers can only clean and remove secretions from the oral cavity (before the uvula) or artificial airway, with the caregiver's consent. In Taiwan, caregivers must undergo 16 hours of professional training (including 8 hours of practical training) to perform oral secretion cleaning tasks.

The Control Yuan members stated that although caregivers receive 90 hours of pre-employment training in their home countries and attend training sessions upon arrival in Taiwan, these are not mandatory and do not include practical training. New Taipei City responded that if foreign caregivers have doubts about their tasks, they should consult the labor or health authorities. However, the Ministry of Labor's 1955 hotline receives only a few inquiries each month regarding medical-related issues from foreign caregivers.

The Control Yuan members believe that the lack of professional skills among foreign caregivers could seriously affect the quality of care for care recipients. They recommend that the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Health and Welfare review the training system for foreign caregivers and include the task of oral secretion cleaning in the standard employment contract to prevent similar incidents.

They also noted that the caregiver had been forced to sign an agreement with an agency before coming to Taiwan, stating that she would compensate the agency if she did not complete her three-year contract. The New Taipei District Court ruled this agreement invalid.

Although foreign caregivers are not covered by the Labor Standards Act, any minimum service period specified in the labor contract should be referenced. This indicates that foreign caregivers, employers, and agencies are unclear about labor contracts and rights. The Ministry of Labor should address and promote the labor rights of migrant workers.

The Control Yuan members highlighted that, as of the end of October last year, there were 4,808 long-term care recipients requiring tracheostomy or ventilator care. While nursing staff in facilities can assist, there is no data on the number of cases assisted by foreign caregivers and the resources available. The Ministry of Health and Welfare should collaborate with the Ministry of Labor to develop response measures.

〔China Times / Reporter Cai Peijia〕2024-05-30 11:52

〔photo by China Times〕