Taiwan extends stay for foreign workers
TAIPEI—Taiwan has decided to extend the length of stay for foreign workers to meet growing demand from the island’s ageing population, officials said Friday.
Parliament passed a bill late Thursday to extend their stay to 12 years from nine years following appeals from local families employing foreign helpers, said the Labor Affairs Council.
The number of foreign laborers reached a record 425,660 by the end of 2011, partly due to surging demand for live-in carers in Taiwan’s rapidly ageing society.
Nearly 200,000 Southeast Asians — most of them from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam — were employed as caregivers or maids while the rest were in the manufacturing sector, according to the council.
People aged 65 and over accounted for 10.6 percent of Taiwan’s 23 million population, the latest census showed, above the 7.0 percent level at which a society is defined as “ageing” by the World Health Organization.
Meanwhile, the island’s birth rate has plummeted to one of the world’s lowest in recent years, triggering concerns of serious social and economic problems from a severe manpower shortage.
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