TAIPEI (The China Post) — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan only recently re-opened its borders to Indonesian and Thai migrant workers on the condition that the respective governments follow Taiwan’s COVID-19 regulations.
However, the domestic labor market is still lacking in manpower, and Filipino migrant workers are still banned from entry, leading to experts from both Taiwan and the Philippines to call on their governments for help.
Emmanuel Geslani (蓋斯拉尼), an expert on migrant workers’ employment and immigration in the Philippines, called on the Philippine Government to cooperate with Taiwan’s epidemic-prevention measures as soon as possible in order to solve the current deadlock on migrant workers between the two countries.
According to the statistics provided by the Taiwan Ministry of Labor (MOL, 勞動部), in November 2021, there were about 675,000 migrant workers in Taiwan, including 238,000 Indonesian, 236,000 Vietnamese, 143,000 Filipino and 57,000 Thai.
Compared to March 2020, Filipino migrant workers previously exceeded 158,000, showcasing the sharp decrease of them in Taiwan.
Once the third-largest population among migrant workers accounting for about 21% of the total number in Taiwan, Geslani expressed hopes that the Philippine government can make a decision soon to allow their domestic workers to go abroad.
According to the Inquirer, Geslani remarked that the ban on migrant workers entering Taiwan has affected more than 5,000 Filipino workers, but the Pe Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
has been “under discussion,” even when Thailand and Indonesia quickly agreed to the new epidemic-prevention measures set forth by the Taiwanese government.
He pointed out that if the number of Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan continues to decline, it will affect the livelihood of Filipino migrant workers overseas, and overseas remittances will gradually decline as well.
Geslani called on the Philippine government to make a decision as soon as possible, or the gap created by Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan’s labor market will be replaced by other Southeast Asian countries, causing thousands of Filipino migrant workers to lose their jobs.
Regarding this, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO, 馬尼拉經濟文化辦事處) previously issued a statement in November 2021, vowing to fully assist overseas migrant workers to resume their entry into Taiwan.
However, in the previous Facebook live broadcast, Cesar Chavez Jr., the representative of the Labor Center of the office, said that after Taiwan announced the resumption of the migration project, it immediately transferred the relevant epidemic-prevention plans to the Philippines for discussion. Nonetheless, Chavez stressed that due to the numerous epidemic prevention regulations, it must be discussed and negotiated by relevant stakeholder groups before a decision can be made.