Opponents to the amendment were met in front of the Legislature by supporters of the law, who argue that the changes are necessary to prevent exploitation.
The protest comes after the Legislature passed a preliminary approval of amendments to the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) on June 22. The changes include the elimination of regulations that require foreign workers to leave the country for more than a day before returning to Taiwan for work every three years.
The amendment was hailed by migrant rights organizations as a step in the right direction. The Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT, 移工聯盟) stated that profits should not be earned by exploiting others.
Although the amendment was enthusiastically welcomed by migrant workers, it did not sit well with middlemen, many of whom earn a profit from the mandatory exit trips.
Protesting agencies said the changes will allow migrants to “steal job opportunities” from local workers, while the workers retain benefits such as labor insurance, pension funds and vacations. The agencies claimed that giving migrant workers such benefits would cause pension funds to go bankrupt sooner.
Huang Kao-chieh (黃杲傑), former head of the Taipei Employment Service Institute Association (TESIA, 就業服務商業同業公會), said eliminating the policy would amount to scrapping a system of punishment and reward.