New Taipei City government, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

Authorities in Taiwan have warned citizens to be careful and diligent when hiring foreign workers – they should do background checks even if they badly need caregivers for family members who are sick or in hospital.

A Taiwanese man was fined NT$150,000 after hiring an illegal Indonesian woman as a caregiver for his 82-year-old mother-in-law via an agent who claimed to be “government accredited”, The United Daily News reported.

Another case involved a 74-year-old Taiwanese woman overwhelmed by having to care for her husband who eventually hired a foreign woman who could speak Taiwanese Mandarin. The employer was reassured that the caregiver was a new immigrant wife on the island nation.

Between 2014 and the end of 2018, the New Taipei City government found 120 cases of illegal foreign workers being employed, including people who had lost valid work permits due to having run away from previous employers. The total fines issued exceeded NT$11.5 million.

The Bureau of Labor advised people to stay vigilant, saying illegal employment agents often target those who urgently need a caregiver for family members in hospital or homes for elderly people.

Officials said agents often claim to be “government accredited” and promise to send a legal worker almost immediately – if the family agrees.

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