Migrant live-in care workers in Taiwan

Multiple roles, cultural functions, and the new division of care labour

Authored by: Li-Fang Liang

The Routledge Handbook of Social Care Work Around the World

Print publication date:  January  2018
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472479457
eBook ISBN: 9781315612805
Adobe ISBN:


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Most elderly people in Taiwan receive care in their homes, either from unpaid family labour (mostly daughters-in-law; Wu, 2005) or paid care workers. The increase in women’s participation in the labour market has created a rising demand for care labourers. About 13 per cent of Taiwanese families that include an elderly person aged 65 years old and above in need of long-term care hire migrant live-in care workers (Ministry of Health and Welfare, 2014, p. 239). Immigrants who offer this service, largely from Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia, have responded to this need since 1992, when Taiwan began to permit their temporary immigration. They have lower salaries than local care workers and live-in with their employers, making them far more valuable to families with limited budgets and elastic, round-the-clock needs. Taiwan passed the Long-Term Care Service Act in 2015, which stipulates the definition, framework, and care model of long-term care services, and the management of service providers, including individual workers and institutions. But the Act fails to address the insufficiency of resources, both financial and human, in the development of public care services. In addition, Taiwan has not instituted national long-term care insurance, which might cover these expenses. The lack of public services and of an insurance system encourages the commodification of care through the private market and the employment of migrant care workers.

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