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Friday, October 22, 2004

Taiwan: Foreign laborers denied benefits and made into 'criminals'

From The Taipei Times:
Because of mistreatment by employers, overseas migrant workers don't take advantage of many of the health benefits to which they are entitled
During a discussion panel organized by the Alliance for Human Rights Legislation for Immigrants and Migrants, civic groups slammed the government for not ensuring migrant workers took advantage of their rights.

"During their short stay in Taiwan, these migrant workers pay for their public health insurance. However, once they begin to suffer from an ailment or are injured, their employers can just send them home. Basically, these migrant workers are just contributing to Taiwan's social resources without enjoying the benefits," said Alison Del Rosario, a representative of the Hope Workers' Center.
"Recently, the Council of Labor Affairs has been considering placing sanctions on Vietnamese workers due to a high rate of abandoning jobs. These workers have been called `runaways,' a word which has negative connotations," said Jimmy Chao (»¯«T©ú), a labor-relations specialist at the Rerum Novarum Center.

"These workers are breaching their labor contracts only in that they are not completing their agreed period of service. However, these people are not criminals," he said.

Chao listed the four major reasons that cause migrant workers to leave their jobs: intolerable work conditions or exploitation by employers; improper management practices at employment agencies which lead to duress; employer abuse; and the inability to seek help when experiencing difficulties.

"Another situation these workers face is that they prefer not to visit the doctor should they have physical discomfort because they are afraid of being repatriated if something is diagnosed," Chao said.

read more ...

Taiwan Association for Human Rights


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