Deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to Taiwan is likely to resume very soon following a top-level meeting Tuesday between the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) and the Taiwan Ministry of Labor, MECO announced Thursday.
In a meeting, MECO chair Wilfredo Fernandez reiterated his request for “stranded” Filipino workers in the Philippines to be allowed to return to Taiwan. Many OFWs were affected by the May 2021 suspension of deployment due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Philippine labor attaché in Taiwan Cesar Chavez, Jr. said that barring any new COVID-19 surge, Taiwan is likely to reopen its doors to OFW after the celebration of the 2022 Lunar New Year when more quarantine facilities are expected to be available.a
According to Fernandez, the Taiwan Ministry of Labor cited the Philippines as an important international partner and the immense contribution of Filipinos to Taiwan’s economic development.
The Taiwan Ministry of Labor cited its continued review of labor rules to protect migrant workers’ rights, including those of the Filipinos, and to promote policies that would improve not only relations but also other benefits such as health care.
Taiwan Ministry of Labor Minister Ming-Chun Hsu, Taiwan is open to discuss the issue of pay parity between household workers (HHW) and factory workers (FW) while ensuring to strike a balance in the industry.
Meanwhile, MECO reiterated its objection to exorbitant fees Philippine recruitment agencies charge OFWs. Recruitment agencies were allegedly charging P200,000 placement fee for every OFW.
In November 2021, MECO coordinated with Malacañang to swiftly address Taiwan’s requirements for the resumption of OFW deployment and that Philippine recruitment agencies shoulder all the pandemic fees.
The recommendation is in consonance with a January 2021 Memo Circular No.1 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) explicitly providing that pandemic fees prior to deployment shall be borne by the agency, at no cost to the worker.
Fernandez emphasized that Taiwan-bound OFW should not pay for pandemic requirements as these expenses should be shouldered by the recruitment agency.