By Cody Yiu
Monday, Feb 21, 2005,Page 4

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) is planning to revise a regulation to allow foreign migrant workers to be able to seek new employers through public announcements three times, up from the current two.

“By doing so, we hope to increase opportunities for foreign migrant workers to switch employers. Furthermore, the pending revision also aims to improve better communication with foreign migrant workers, to enable them to have a better understanding of their new jobs,” Meng-liang (蔡孟良), a section chief at the council’s Department of Foreign Labor Affairs, said yesterday.

The CLA is drafting an amendment to the Regulation Governing the Transfer of Foreign Migrant Workers To Employers (外勞轉換僱主作業規定), to allow for three public announcements to be made by foreign migrant workers seeking employment instead of the current two.

The current regulation stipulates that should the employer of a foreign migrant worker die or emigrate, or the worker have been laid off, the worker may be able to switch employers through a local Vocational and Employment Center by putting up a public announcement.

Upon seeing the announcement, prospective employers who are interested in hiring these workers may do so by attending public bids held by the center.

A labor rights group pointed out, that despite the pending amendment, many foreign migrant workers will still face deportation after being transferred to new employers.

Ku Yu-ling (顧玉玲), secretary-general of the Taiwan International Workers’ Association (TIWA), explained that most employers would bid for laid off foreign migrant workers during the first round because they wanted to keep their hiring quota.

“If an employer wins the bid for a particular worker, but is not pleased with this new employee of his, he just needs to deport the worker. Once that one is gone, the quota is freed up and he just needs to hire himself a new one,” Ku said.

During the bidding process, due to incomplete information and a lack of translation services, the foreign migrant workers usually know little about their prospective employers and the job descriptions of their new jobs.

“Often a foreign migrant worker finds that the new job description is completely different from what was described by his manpower broker. Soon, he finds himself being deported,” Ku said.

Ku suggested that, given the current quota system for hiring foreign migrant workers, the CLA should allow for a change of employers without having through go through the bidding process.

“If a Taiwanese worker is not pleased with his new employer, he may just to quit and look for another job. Why can’t a foreign migrant worker do the same?” Ku said.

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