The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Saturday said some 5,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are bound for Taiwan next week as borders reopen to certain countries on February 15.
POEA Deputy Administrator Villamor Plan said the 5,000 workers are those whose visas were held prior to the deployment ban imposed by Taiwan last year.
“When it comes to the number of OFWs that we can send there, it is estimated to be about 40,000. But as of now, we already have about 5,000 workers leaving,” he said during the Laging Handa public briefing.
In May 2021, Taiwan closed its borders to anyone without citizenship or an alien residency certificate.
Its Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced on February 7 the next phase of allowing fully vaccinated migrant workers from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand to enter Taiwan.
Plan also reminded OFWs that protocol-related expenses will be shouldered either by the employer or recruitment agencies.
Migrant workers shall quarantine for 14 days and stay at the same hotel for another seven days of self-health monitoring before going to their workplaces.
Chen Shih-chun, CECC head, told Taiwan News that quarantine for overseas travelers will not be shortened until they have booster vaccine coverage of 50 percent which they hope to achieve by March.
Plan said several countries want to hire Filipinos, particularly in the health sector.
“There are many demands but we have to consider also our personal demands here so we still have a little bit of deployment cap to follow. We can only deploy up to 7,000 healthcare workers,” he said.