Taiwan labor officials failed to confirm Indonesian migrant workers will arrive in the country Thursday, despite an announcement from the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower Wednesday that it expects 1,700 workers from the country to leave for Taiwan from Nov. 11-23.
Taiwan will lift entry restrictions for Indonesian migrant workers on Thursday and first allow in 1,700 workers from Indonesia -- 850 care facility and manufacturing factory workers and 850 domestic workers --during the two-week period, the Indonesian ministry said in a statement.
Taiwan banned entry of Indonesian migrant workers in December 2020 in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases imported from the Southeast Asian country.
Since the ban, 12,730 Indonesian workers have registered to work in Taiwan, with caregivers accounting for the largest share at 6,204, followed by 4,755 blue-collar workers and 988 fishermen among others, said Benny Rhamdani, head of the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BP2MI), at a press conference in Jakarta Wednesday.
In Taipei, neither the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) nor the Ministry of Labor (MOL) confirmed the entry of Indonesian migrant workers from Thursday, but CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (???) said the first group of Indonesian workers is expected to arrive in Taiwan before December.
A total of 1,700 rooms at government-run quarantine centers have been made available, he said at the CECC's daily press briefing.
Hsueh Chien-chung (???), a division chief at the MOL's Workforce Development Agency, said a plan allowing Indonesian migrant workers to enter Taiwan in two phases has been sent to the CECC for approval.
The date of its implementation will be decided by the CECC, he said.
The labor ministry said Tuesday following an online meeting with Indonesia's labor authority on lifting the ban and related epidemic prevention measures that Taiwan expects to re-open its borders to Indonesian workers as early as this week.
On Wednesday, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Indonesian migrant workers are set to be the first to be granted entry to Taiwan after the country barred the entry of all migrant workers following an unprecedented spike in domestic COVID-19 cases in Taiwan from May 19.
Despite the lifting of the ban, entry of migrant workers will be suspended again from Dec. 14 to Feb. 14 when a huge influx of Taiwanese nationals returning home for the Lunar New Year holiday is expected to cause significant strain on quarantine room capacity, according to the CECC.
According to MOL figures, as of the end of September 2021 there were 690,025 migrant workers in Taiwan, with the largest number coming from Indonesia with 245,365, followed by Vietnam 241,626, the Philippines 145,288, and Thailand 57,738.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel