TAIPEI: Taiwan has cut the number of foreign workers and maids working on the island by 24,000 since November, as a result of the global economic slowdown, it was reported on Sunday.
As of February, there were 349,000 foreign workers and maids in Taiwan, largely from the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, compared with 373,000 in November, The Economic Daily News reported, citing the Council of Labor Affairs.
The number of foreign laborers is expected to drop further in the coming months, with 30,000 to be sent home this year, the council has announced.
The move comes as Taiwan’s unemployment rate rose to a record high of 5.75 percent in February on business downsizing and closures amid a recession, the government said.
But the council expected the cut in foreign workers would be slowed, after the manufacturing sector showed signs of improvement with many high-tech firms receiving large orders from China.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chipmaker, has announced it is cancelling unpaid leaves from April 1 to meet the Chinese orders.
Taiwan, the sixth-biggest economy in Asia, has been hit hard by the global financial crisis, with record falls in its key export sector, particularly among bellwether electronics firms.
Its economy was reported to be expecting to bounce back in the fourth quarter of 2009. In March this year, it absorbed 468 overseas Filipino workers despite downturn, according to data from the Manila Economic Cultural Office.
Last week, the Asian Development Bank in a report said that Taiwan and other Asian export-dependent economies—Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand—would contract in 2009. — AFP