MANILA— Around 5,000 Filipino job applicants are waiting for Taiwan to reopen its borders to foreign hires, Philippine Labor Attaché Cesar Chavez Jr. said Friday.
The affected applicants include new hires and returning workers who left Taiwan for a vacation in the Philippines, Chavez told reporters in a press conference.
Taiwan closed its border to countries with high COVID-19 cases, which include the Philippines.
Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 11 of the 14 imported cases seen during the first two weeks of August involved people who arrived from the Philippines.
"Isa pang nakikita namin dyan kaya siguro hindi pa rin sila nagbukas kung okay naman dito sa Taiwan, 'yung pinanggalingan tulad ng mga labor-centric countries tulad sa'tin d'yan sa Pilipinas na more than 10,000 a day 'yung infection," Chavez said.
(What we're seeing is that it's possible they're still not opening because here in the Philippines, we have over 10,000 cases per day.)
"'Yung mga andito naman (sa Taiwan) ay pwedeng magtuloy-tuloy sa trabaho. 'Yung mga additional lang na demand ay additional needs for workers, 'yun muna ang mape-pending," he added.
(Those working here can work continously. Those additional workers, they are the ones who are pending)
The Taiwanese government also promised to address the expiring entry visas of applicants, Chavez said.
The majority of pending applications are workers for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, he said.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the biggest company in Taiwan, earlier this month warned that the global semiconductor shortage may continue until 2022.
More than half of the workers in the industry are Filipinos. Chipmakers are racing to meet the surge in demand for consumer electronics, the official said.
While new and re-hires could not enter Taiwan, Filipinos there work overtime to meet demand, Chavez added.
According to government data, the Philippines is the third top exporter of laborers in Taiwan.