Due to language and cultural differences, agencies usually assist with arranging work and daily life for migrant workers. The Ministry of Labor (MOL) reminded, the “services fee” that agencies charge to migrant workers must meet the following three conditions: “with a contract,” “with service facts,” and “without advance charge.” If an agency violates the regulations, in addition to fines, compulsory business closure will be the maximum penalty of one-year.
According to the MOL, based on the user charge principle, when migrant workers need the agent service from an agency company, and this agency company provides services based on the service contract signed with the migrant workers, the services fee should be paid as stated in the contract. According to the “Standards for Fee-charging Items and Amounts of the Private Employment Services Institution”, an agency company can only charge the “services fees” from migrant workers on a monthly basis. The monthly services fees for the first, second, and third years must not exceed NT$1,800, NT$1,700, and NT$1,500 respectively.
After a migrant worker works in Taiwan for three years, when the original employer desires to renew the employment, or when the original employer does not renew the employment but a new employer takes over the employment, an agency company may charge a “registration fee” and “placement fee” from the employer or new employer (usually called the “placement fee” together). The total amount of these fees must not exceed the salary for the first month. In addition, an agency company cannot charge the “placement fee” from the migrant worker, except for the “services fee,” and the amount must not exceed NT$1,500 a month after the third year.
The MOL emphasizes that it is illegal for an agency company to collect a placement fee from migrant workers for matching them with a new employer after the previous service term. The MOL continues to investigate the claiming status of agency companies in collaboration with the local governments. If an agency company is found overcharging fees from foreign workers, penalties will include a fine of 10 times to 20 times of the overcharged amount, compulsory closure of business, or rejection of license renewal.
Migrant workers overcharged by agency companies may keep the related evidence and report to the MOL, the local government, or call the 1955 hotline. If the allegation is proven true, the agency company will be punished by law. Employers or migrant workers having doubts about the contents of the fees charged by the agency company are welcome to call the MOL Call Center (02-89956000) or the 1955 hotline for advice.