Domestic caregivers unite in protest of treatment as maids in Taiwan

A file photo of maids.

TAIPEI - Several foreign caregivers from Southeast Asian countries yesterday rallied with the Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT,台灣移工聯盟) activist group outside of the Executive Yuan in protest against ongoing mistreatment of foreign caregivers.

The foreign caregivers criticised R.O.C. President Ma Ying-jeou for failing his guarantee to pass an insurance programme protecting migrant workers within four years. Coming to Taiwan mainly from the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, female migrant workers are commonly hired as caregivers for the elderly and the disabled. However, after their arrival and training, the women are usually forced to take on the work of maids, doing household chores ranging from cooking to cleaning bathrooms, in addition to their responsibilities to the disabled.

Seeking only to be protected under law, the caregivers rallied to urge the government to look after their rights. According to a survey from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW, 衛福部) conducted on the 10-year long-term care plan, disability rates among the elderly have risen 2.3 per cent in 2008 to 27 per cent as of 2012, while the per cent of the population carrying permanent total disabilities has increased to 16.4 per cent. A survey conducted by the Taiwan Association of Caregivers, (TAFC, 家庭照顧者關懷總會) showed that the number of individuals which require caregivers was 700,000. Of this demographic, 65 per cent are self-sufficient, 28 per cent hire migrant caregivers, 4 per cent are institutionalized, with only 3 per cent enlisting the aid of government-provided care.

These calculations only prove that the current scheme does not provide sufficient care to those who need it and does not provide enough protection to caregivers, who are mostly foreign and not protected under law, according to MENT spokesperson Wu Ching-ju (吳靜如). MENT and the migrant caregivers also urged the government to find a solution soon.