Taiwan legislature extends max stay for foreign workers to 12 years

Taipei (The China Post/ANN) - The Legislative Yuan ratified, in an extra session held yesterday, draft revisions to the Employment Services Act, boosting the maximum duration of stay in Taiwan by foreign blue-collar workers to 12 years from the existing 9 years.

Based on the revisions, foreign workers employed to serve in manufacturing and construction industries, serve as domestic helpers, handle social welfare jobs, or take offshore fishing jobs will be allowed to stay in Taiwan for a maximum of 12 years.

The Legislature ratified the relaxation measure in response to a call from C.V. Chen, president of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China, who asked the Legislature to extend the maximum stay by foreign workers in his capacity as father of a heavily handicapped son at the end of 2010.

In dealing with the bill, the legislative caucus of the ruling Kuomintang raised a motion to expand the application of the relaxation measure to almost all foreign workers in Taiwan, and finally approved the motion.

In response, lawmaker Huang Shu-ying of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party lamented that the liberalization measure is mainly designed to reward local enterprises for their support for the re-election bid of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Huang said that the measure will certainly undermine the interests of domestic workers. Even lawmaker Chiang Yi-hsiung of the KMT also noted that the maximum duration of stay for foreign workers in industrial sectors and households should not be extended from the existing nine years.

The Legislative Yuan yesterday also passed draft revisions to the Farmers Association Act, the Fishermen Association Act, and the statute governing the organization of farmland irrigation associations.

The Legislature is expected to complete its third reading of the statute governing the re-organization of the Executive Yuan or the Cabinet to legalize the reorganization of the administrative body.

The new law-making body will the formed on Feb. 1, when newly elected 113 lawmakers will be sworn in for a four-year term.

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