FORWARD PLANNING:Critics say the government has failed to address the potential migrant shortage a new Indonesian law banning export of female labor may cause
By Lii Wen / Staff reporter
Families with elderly members above the age of 85 can now apply for the services of foreign caretakers under relaxed application standards, Ministry of Labor officials announced yesterday.
Previous regulations stipulated that seniors aged 80 and above were required to exhibit a score below 60 on the Barthel Index — a medical scale that measures the capacity to engage in everyday activities, such as eating or showering — before their family could apply for a foreign caretaker.
A new ministry ruling said families with seniors aged over 85 can apply for foreign caretakers as long as medical examinations show they exhibit one single disability among activities listed on the Barthel Index.
Those aged over 85 require more intensive care, since their physical and mental health conditions can deteriorate swiftly, the ministry said.
An estimated 35,000 families would be likely to benefit from the new measures, the ministry said.
However, critics say the ministry has yet to address a potential shortage of migrant workers, following a recent decision by the Indonesian government to ban the export of female labor within five years.
Chinese Association of Family Caregivers president Chen Chen-fen (陳正芬) said that instead of importing foreign labor whenever there are gaps in the workforce, the government should engage in policy reforms on long-term care and establish daycare centers for seniors.
The nation is home to about 530,000 migrant workers, mostly from Southeast Asian nations, with 220,000 who work as home care workers.