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Labor Ministry set to permit hiring of 28,000 extra migrant workers

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Migrant workers gathering in Taipei Main Station.

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) The Ministry of Labor announced Tuesday that it plans to loosen criteria for the employment of migrant workers so an additional 28,000 can be brought into the country to help address Taiwan's labor shortage.

The new policy, which targets workers in the manufacturing, construction, agricultural and care giving industries, is expected to be introduced in mid-June at the earliest, the ministry said.

The number of extra workers allocated to the four sectors will be 600, 8,000, 12,000 and 14,000, respectively, the ministry said, adding that after the "notice period" expires on May 30, it will start conducting related preparatory work.

For example, the additional 600 workers in the manufacturing industry will be hired by about 210 companies, including 142 fish-processing operators, 37 tofu makers and 31 ship builders, it said.

Lai Chia-jen (賴家仁), deputy director general of the ministry's Workforce Development Agency, explained that such companies have found it difficult to adopt automated production systems.

The fact that the work environment at such firms is often hot, humid, dusty and involves chemicals, has also increased the demand for migrant workers, according to the ministry.

To boost agricultural productivity, the ministry said, it will also be made easier for individual farmers or small-sized farming operators to hire migrant workers.

For example, qualifications for migrant workers will be loosened for flower, vegetable, tea, and coffee farmers, while logging and afforestation companies will henceforth be allowed to hire foreign workers, the ministry said.

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