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Labour export firms face fines for gouging workers

Update: March, 07/2012 - 17:38

HA NOI – The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has announced that it will fine labour export enterprises which fail to abide by regulations on fees charged to workers seeking employment in Taiwan.

Violators would faces fines as of April 1, the ministry said.

The new rule was aimed at preventing enterprises from exploiting labourers who wanted to work in Taiwan, said the head of the ministry's Overseas Labour Management Department, Nguyen Ngoc Quynh.

Taiwan was a key export labour market for Viet Nam, but the ministry has received reports of enterprises charging workers fees that were higher than allowed under regulations, causing a number of workers to quit the jobs and remain illegally in Taiwan, Quynh said.

"The department will take various measures, including inspections at enterprises and interviewing workers at airports as well as those who used to work in Taiwan," said Quynh. "If enterprises are found to continue violations, the department will co-ordinate with their Taiwanese partners to revoke their labour export licences and deal strictly with such cases in accordance with the law."

Regulations required that the total costs for an industrial worker seeking employment in Taiwan could not exceed US$4,500 for a three-year contract, of which the brokerage fee could not exceed $1,500. However, Quynh said, workers with a two-year contract in Taiwan have typically faced costs of $5,500 to $6,500, with the brokerage fee as high as $4,500.

Workers with a monthly salary of $600-800 would therefore have to work about ten months of the contract just to pay the fees of the export labour enterprise.

Regulations also require that total costs to workers placed in domestic or healthcare jobs would exceed $3,800 for a three-year contract, of which the brokerage fee could not exceed $800.

Meanwhile, deposits required from workers to ensure contract completion cannot exceed $1,000 for a three-year contract. All costs required of a guest worker travelling to Taiwan need to be itemised in the contract and consistent with the law. – VNS

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