The Philippine representative office in Taipei said Tuesday that it is making every effort to obtain Taiwan's permission for the entry of migrant workers from its country, after a ban of about six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"No effort is spared to hasten the reopening of Taiwan's door to Filipino workers," said the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, in a statement issued in English.
According to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Taipei, the requirements set by Taiwan's government for the return of Filipino migrant workers have been forwarded to the Department of Labor and Employment in Manila for review.
The requirements include accreditation of COVID-19 testing centers in Manila, several rounds of negative COVID-19 tests prior to employment in Taiwan, and designation of quarantine facilities, Cesar Chavez Jr., a labor attaché at the office, said in a Facebook video posted by MECO.
The statements came after Taiwan announced on Nov. 11 that it was opening its borders again to Indonesian migrant workers with immediate effect, while negotiations were underway with the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to lift the ban on their workers.
Taiwan closed its borders to most non-residents on May 19, as part of its response to a spike in domestic COVID-19 cases.
In the Facebook video, Chavez said Taiwan had given priority to workers from Indonesia, probably because the Southeast Asian country was the "biggest supplier" of caregivers, who were in high demand in Taiwan.
Another factor was likely the COVID-19 situation in different countries, he said, noting that Indonesia currently has fewer cases than the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
"We know how difficult it is for those stranded in the Philippines," Chavez said. "However, there are still policy issues to be settled first."
The first group of Indonesian workers are likely to arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday, and Thailand will be the next, as Taiwan moves to lift its ban on the entry of migrant workers, Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (???) said Monday.
According to Ministry of Labor data, as of the end of September, there were 690,025 migrant workers in Taiwan, with Indonesia accounting for 245,365, Vietnam 241,626, the Philippines 145,288, and Thailand 57,738.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel