TAIPEI, TAIWAN - Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) rejoice!
Taiwan has agreed to reopen its doors to Filipino migrant workers starting on 15 February, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) announced on Monday.
MECO Resident Representative and Chairman Wilfredo B. Fernandez said the “most-welcome development” was confirmed to his office through the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Manila.
“We want to thank the Taiwan officials, as well as their business leaders, for their continuing trust and confidence in the world-class skills, competence, and work ethics of Filipino workers,” Fernandez said.
However, Fernandez issued a stern warning to recruitment agencies and OFWs to ensure that they strictly comply with all the requirements set forth by the government of Taiwan on the redeployment of OFWs.
In particular, Fernandez cited the documentary requirements on vaccination cards, RT-PCR test results, and quarantine compliance.
“Make sure all the documents you’ll submit are genuine and in order. Please do not do anything that would jeopardize the chances of thousands of other OFWs from working in Taiwan again,” Fernandez said. “They have suffered long enough as a result of the pandemic.”
Earlier, MECO labor official and lawyer Cesar Chavez, Jr. reported that Taiwan authorities have discovered fake vaccination cards submitted by incoming migrant workers from another country.
Fernandez also emphasized that recruitment agencies should shoulder the pre-deployment pandemic fees of the OFWs returning to Taiwan as mandated under Memo Circular 1 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued in January 2021.
“Any infraction will be dealt with severely in accordance with the law,” Fernandez said.
At least 35,000 OFWs are awaiting for lucrative postings in Taiwan with roughly 11,000 new hires and 24,000 replacements. With an average pay of PHP50,000 per month, the 160,000 Filipinos currently working there earn around PhP8B or PHP96B annually.
It may be recalled that last month, Fernandez has assured that the deployment of Taiwan-bound OFWs will resume very soon after a meeting with Taiwan’s labor officials.
Fernandez said he reiterated during the meeting his request to allow the return of the OFWs who have been seeking deployment since May 2021.
He added that the Taiwan labor officials vowed a continuing review of its 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.
According to Fernandez, the Philippines has been cited by labor officials as an important international partner that contributes immensely to Taiwan’s economic development.
The MECO chief thanked Taiwan for providing one of the best working environments for migrants, regardless of nationality, as he cited the very low labor cases due to fair working conditions in the country.