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英语时差:外来移民扩大经济大饼

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2019年02月16日

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The recent violence against African migrant workers in South Africa has shocked and saddened the world. All over the world in fact, local people are blaming migrant workers for lost jobs.

In Taiwan, the debate over the issue of migrant workers has been re-ignited with the recent change in government. The Taiwan Confederation of Trade Union recently called for controls on the number of foreign workers, as they believe unemployed local people would benefit from less competition for jobs.

Others are calling for even more foreign workers who are willing to work for the minimum wage, which was increased in 2007 to NT$17,280 per month.

A growing international consensus says that foreign workers aren't taking jobs from locals. Some American economists have argued that the national agricultural economy would fail without the work force provided by migrant workers.

The story is similar in Taiwan, with the majority of foreign workers employed in strenuous construction jobs, factory work or in caring for senior citizens.

The idea that without foreign workers, Americans or Taiwanese would be willing to pick fruit, do construction work, and look after the elderly or infirm-all for minimum wage-is naive.

As we begin another round of debate over workers from abroad, let's try to forge a "win-win" situation in which both Taiwan and foreign workers benefit.

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