Retrospect and Prospect on the Health Examination System of Alien Laborers
2005 Vol.21 NO.7
To meet the large demand of labor for economic development, Taiwan began to import alien labor in October 1989. Statistics of the Council of Labor Affairs shows that by April 2005, there were 302,649 alien laborers legally working in Taiwan; of them, 96,779 are Thais, 93,513 Vietnamese, 92,416 Filipinos, 19,852 Indonesians, 71 Mongolians, and 17 Malaysians. To prevent the importation of diseases indigenous to the labor exporting countries from entering Taiwan, and thus posing a threat to the health of the people, the Department of Health has formulated laws and regulations governing the health examination of alien laborers. The regulations are such that alien laborers are required of a health examination each before entry to Taiwan, within three days after entry, and within thirty days before and after six, 18 and 30 months of employment. Items of health examination include: chest x-ray examination, testing for HIV antibodies, testing for syphilis and hepatitis B surface antigen, fecal examination for intestinal parasites, pregnancy test, general physical examination (including mental status), and examination for leprosy. For examinations on six, 18 and 30 months of employment, pregnancy test and hepatitis B surface antigen test are waived. Alien laborers found infected with intestinal parasites (not including Entamoeba histolytica) are given 30 days for treatment and re-examination. To protect the health of the population, alien laborers who fail in any one item of the rest, or are infected with any of the 21 communicable diseases designated by the central competent health authority, are, by regulations, deported.