Advocates Demand Effective Direct Hiring System for Migrant Workers


Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT) launched a large-scale migrant worker march late last year, criticizing Taiwan's direct hiring system as ineffective and merely a cover for the government to shirk responsibility while allowing private intermediaries to monopolize the migrant employment market. MENT emphasized that only direct hiring between countries, with sufficient bilingual staff at employment service stations, one-stop centers integrating documents from various agencies, and simplified document processes, can enable employers and workers to complete the application procedures independently without relying on intermediaries.

South Korea adopts a direct hiring system between countries, but the Ministry of Labor has repeatedly explained that South Korea introduced migrant workers later and implemented direct hiring from the start, while Taiwan initially relied on a private intermediary system before transitioning to a dual-track system of intermediaries and direct hiring.

However, Hsu Wei-Tung, a specialist from the Taiwan International Workers Association (TIWA), believes that as long as the dual-track system exists, direct hiring services will not develop and their capacity cannot be improved. When the Ministry of Labor makes the hiring process difficult, employers inevitably rely on intermediaries, ultimately passing the costs onto the migrant workers.

He pointed out that South Korea provides multilingual information and assistance through HRDK offices stationed in source countries. Taiwan only needs to establish a similar software system, upload information of qualified migrant workers, and provide a system for employers to select workers. In South Korea, there are also migrant worker service centers in various regions with sufficient interpretation services. There is no reason why Taiwan cannot achieve government-to-government direct hiring if South Korea can.

Lin Kuo-Jung, a professor at Chihlee University of Technology, believes that Taiwan is limited by its diplomatic situation, making direct hiring between countries difficult. Additionally, the intense competition among intermediaries means many reduce or waive fees to attract employers, making them even less willing to use direct hiring.

Lin also mentioned that unless large companies have dedicated HR staff, small and medium-sized enterprises and general household employers find it hard to handle direct hiring procedures. Most employers do not want to deal with labor disputes or manage workers' daily lives, finding it easier to buffer through intermediaries and communicate through interpreters.

He suggested that to encourage employers to use direct hiring, in addition to simplifying procedures, economic incentives could be provided, such as reducing the employment stability fees that direct hire employers must pay monthly.

〔UDN / Reporter Ye Guanyu / Taipei Report〕2024-06-30 01:14

〔photo by Reporter Yu Chenghan〕