Taipei, July 5 (CNA) In anticipation of greater demand for caregivers as Taiwan is scheduled to implement the Long Term Care Service Act in 2017, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) has geared up to widen the sources of such manpower from more countries.
Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良), deputy director-general of the ministry's Workforce Development Agency (勞動部勞動力發展署), said his ministry, through assistance provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has actively been inquiring other countries' willingness to send their laborers to work in Taiwan.
In recent years, apart from the large numbers of laborers Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand have sent to Taiwan, Myanmar and Cambodia are two new countries sought after by Taiwan to help ease its labor shortage amid a rapid growth of the aging population.
Indonesia, Taiwan's largest source of foreign workers, has announced that it will freeze its exportation of domestic helpers to Taiwan starting in 2017, though Taiwan's Labor Ministry said it has yet to be notified by the Indonesian side.
Currently there are 219,552 foreign caregivers in Taiwan, with 174,622 from Indonesia, Labor Ministry statistics show.
According to Tsai, two-way negotiation with Myanmar have been ongoing in a low-key manner for a while, and Myanmar has showed a high level of interests in exporting its laborers to Taiwan.
However, a series of follow-up issues related to visa applications, document verifications, health checks and the ability of Myanmar's workers to adapt to Taiwan's environment need to be carefully assessed, he said.
It is understood that the parliamentary elections slated for the end of this year in Myanmar are another variable that might affect Taiwan-Myanmar labor talks due to the Southeast Asian country's close links to China.
Tsai said, meanwhile, no headway has been made in similar labor talks with Cambodia. He added that they have been suspended for the time being due to that country's special political and economic situation.