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Commissioner Chen Visits Religious Leaders, Discusses Needs of Migrant Workers

Commissioner discussing with religious leaders To reinforce the outbreak prevention campaign among foreign migrant workers, Taipei City Government’s Department of Labor (DOL) Commissioner Chen Hsin-Yu personally visited St. Christopher‘s Church and the Taipei Grand Mosque on February 10 to convey city government’s policy of “humanitarian care and outbreak prevention priority” to the religious leaders and ask them to pass on the message to the migrant workers.

During the outbreak prevention period, migrant workers coming to attend church services or pray will be informed of relevant details pertaining to Wuhan coronavirus. If symptoms of pneumonia are manifested, they should seek help whether they have national health insurance or not, and Taipei City will render assistance based on the consideration of humanitarian and health care, hoping to prevent any loopholes in outbreak prevention efforts.

Many Filipino, Vietnamese, and Indonesian migrant workers congregate at St. Christopher’s Church during the holidays. Father Edward from the Philippines, Father Chen from Vietnam, and Father Wu from Indonesia all expressed their willingness to collaborate with the city government in outbreak prevention, and they will also help promote the concept of outbreak prevention to migrant workers attending church services. Moreover, the DOL has prepared outbreak prevention materials in multiple languages for the church so that they can be distributed to migrant workers during church activities.

Taipei Grand Mosque Chairman Wang Pao-Hsin commended Commissioner Chen for visiting in person and for Taipei City Government’s principle of humanitarian care-oriented outbreak prevention. He pointed out that the Taipei Grand Mosque is a popular tourist attraction frequented by Muslims from across the world, and therefore the mosque has implemented regular disinfection measures and posted outbreak prevention announcements urging visitors and migrant workers to carry out proper outbreak prevention. While joining forces to support the government’s outbreak prevention efforts, religious leaders are also appealing to migrant workers to care for those around them. Whatever the reason, even without a health insurance card or ARC, those who exhibit illness symptoms may contact the Taipei City outbreak prevention hotline to seek assistance. The church or mosque will also provide them with full support.

Commissioner Chen mentioned that with over 46,000 migrant workers in Taipei City, St. Christopher’s Church and Taipei Grand Mosque are important religious hubs for migrant workers. Religion provides both consolation and important spiritual support for the hard-working migrant workers. Some migrant workers may be a long way from home and may have limited understanding of the outbreak, therefore the DOL has issued official letters asking the foreign offices of their native countries in Taiwan to communicate the outbreak situation to their citizens. Mayor Ko’s Facebook page also provides relevant information in multiple languages. It is hoped that with the help of the church and the mosque, Taipei City can look after more migrant workers by conveying the correct message. Migrant workers are also encouraged to ask for assistance when encountering problems, and it is imperative that they do not try to conceal their illness in order to prevent any loopholes in outbreak prevention.

Over 90% of the migrant workers in Taipei City work for Taiwanese families, so the DOL has asked employers to provide the necessary assistance and pass on the vital outbreak prevention-related information to migrant workers that may be in their employ. The agency has also set up an information area for employers, and promotional materials in multiple languages will be provided so that the employers can explain outbreak prevention policies to migrant workers. Commissioner Chen appeals to employers to refrain from hiring illegal migrant workers, and those with legal migrant workers in their employ should look out for them and contribute their efforts to outbreak prevention.