Migrant worker groups are protesting the Taiwanese government's discriminatory treatment of blue-collar migrant workers, saying they are subject to reentry requirements different than all other resident certificate holders. Some of the requirements include online registration at least three days prior to arrival and a mandatory eight-day stay at quarantine hotels.
Workers demonstrate outside the Executive Yuan. After Taiwan lifted border restrictions, blue-collar migrant workers that went home to see their families found it extremely difficult to return to Taiwan.
Yvette, Blue-collar Migrant Worker: “I get shocked. My name is not registered to the name list who can enter in Taiwan. I ask the ticketing board, what happened? They told me that I didn't register a quarantine hotel back here. So, I was not able to get my ticket back to Taiwan.”
Tommie, Blue-collar Migrant Worker: “Actually, I was like up for sale, until -- and like, I was up for sale. If no one signed (for us) from the airport, we cannot go out.”
Migrant workers say they are subjected to countless restrictions ranging from mandatory online registration at least three days before arrival to not being allowed to leave the airport unless their employer picks them up and signs for them. Taiwan is even confining migrant workers to quarantine hotels for eight days upon arrival.
Liu Hsiao-ying, Spokesperson, Taiwan Int'l Workers' Association: “We hope the government can stop treating blue-collar migrant workers like second-class citizens. They should be treated like white-collar migrant workers, foreign students and immigrants and allowed to come and go as they please while their resident certificates are valid. Their rights should be respected.”
Migrant workers have two main requests: for the Taiwanese government to stop its discriminatory treatment and for their resident certificates to be honored. In theory, there are no restrictions on how often resident certificate holders can enter and leave Taiwan but blue-collar migrant workers are being forced to reapply for entry every time they leave.
Su Yu-kuo, Workforce Development Director, Ministry of Labor Affairs: “To prevent them from coming into contact with people with severe symptoms or people that are at high risk, we require them to live at their employer's residence or in employee dormitories. If they come in and they stay at (a quarantine hotel), we have so-called subsidies for that.”
The Workforce Development Agency says anyone entering Taiwan, whether they are tourists or migrant workers, must have a valid visa or multiple-entry permit and follow the "0+7" protocol.