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Vietnamese migrant workers call for direct hiring

Focus Taiwan News Channel, Taiwan, 5 May 2019 - Vietnamese migrant workers staged a protest in front of the Vietnam Economic and Cultural office (VECO) in Taipei on Sunday, calling for direct hiring to eliminate unfair practices under the current brokerage system.

More than 20 Vietnamese migrant workers gathered in front of VECO, Vietnam's de facto embassy in Taiwan, urging Vietnam and Taiwan to establish a direct government-to-government hiring scheme to replace the current brokerage system which they condemned as exploitative.

The number of migrant workers in Taiwan reached 704,800 as of March this year, with more than 220,000 from Vietnam, according to statistics from the Ministry of Labor.

A protester who requested anonymity for fear of retribution told CNA that the broker fees paid by Taiwan-bound Vietnamese are two to three times higher than that of migrant workers from other countries.

A worker in Vietnam who wants a foreign contract is required to pay US$4,000, the protester said, but the truth is workers pay much more than what the official documents indicate.

Those who refuse to pay under the table will not be able to board the plane to Taiwan, he said, hoping the Vietnamese government will gradually lower brokerages fees and create laws to regulate unscrupulous manpower agencies.

Protesters claimed that Vietnamese officials actually know of these illicit practices, but workers are often asked to pay another fee when they try to file complaints at VECO.

Another protester lamented that outbound workers are not given enough time to analyze their contracts thus resulting in disputes over duties, and brokers usually support employer when workers are treated unfairly.

At least two workers groups claimed that Vietnamese workers have to pay US$5,000-7,000 to work in Taiwan, two to three times more than other labor exporting countries.

Other than the required brokerage fee, Taiwan-bound Vietnamese workers must also pay for passports, medical checkups, and a deposit to ensure they will not run away from their employers, said Chuang Shu-ching (莊舒晴), a social worker at the Vietnamese Migrant Workers and Immigrants Office.

It is difficult to complain because brokers do not provide job applicants with receipts, Chuang added, while urging both governments to solve the brokerage problems and establish a sustainable hiring system.


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