TWC2 has recently learned from a migrant worker organisation in Taiwan that the regulations there make a clear distinction between a domestic worker and a caretaker.

The job of domestic workers is to look after young children. They are employed by families with at least one child under the age of six and are forbidden to take care of elderly persons at the same time. There are a relatively small number of domestic workers in Taiwan — only slightly over 2,000.

Caretakers take care of the elderly or mentally or physically challenged children, youth, young or elderly adults. An elderly person under the age of 80 must receive a doctor’s certificate stating he or she has met the government’s stipulated requirements to hire a migrant caretaker. This year the law was changed that any elderly person who is 80 years or older can employ a migrant caretaker — at present that are about 230,000 such workers in Taiwan.

In practice, many caretakers also take care of grandchildren because some grandchildren live with their elder grandparents. If the caretaker is unhappy and the case can be proven, the NGO (who gave us this information) will bring the violation to the authorities.

Taiwan has implemented its Human Trafficking Prevention Act since 2009. Complainants live in a shelter and are permitted by law to work in a factory while they are witnesses in court for the State against their employer who is the suspected trafficker. The case normally takes at least one year in court. The government gives the NGO sheltering the victim a daily subsidy of US$17  to cover all costs in accommodating the worker.

When the case is finished in court the worker must transfer to a new employer as a domestic worker or caretaker. The worker cannot continue in the manufacturing sector. The time spent in the shelter is not included in the worker’s three-year contract period.

Since September 2015, migrant domestic workers and caretakers can work in Taiwan for a maximum of 14 years, where previously it was 12 years.