REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Taipei's Indonesian Economic and Trade Office (TETO) clarified the recent cases of exploitation of Indonesian students in Taiwan. TETO has conducted investigation by interviewing Indonesian students from Wu Hsing University of Science and Technology on December 28, 2018 and January 3, 2019.
Based on the investigation result, TETO claimed to have found no violations. According to TETO, a senior official from Taiwan Ministry of Education visited and interviewed students.
"According to them, all the internship arrangements outside the campus were in accordance with the provisions of the Taiwan Labor Law, and they denied that they were harassed in the internship program," said TETO Representative John Chen at the press conference in Jakarta, on Friday (Jan 4).
John asserted that Taiwan government had always tried to improve the welfare of foreign workers and students in Taiwan. To ensure the quality of this special class apprenticeship program, the Ministry of Education of Taiwan has been monitoring this school since 2017 school year when the program was launched.
"In fact, penalties will also be imposed if irregularities or illegal operations are found," he explained.
There are several sanctions that will be applied if there are proven violations. First, removing the right of the university to participate in the international industry-university cooperation program. Second, every university involved in illegal apprenticeship activities will be prosecuted.
In the internship, students in the first year will not be allowed to work more than 20 hours every week, except on summer and winter holidays. All of them must get a working permit and enjoy all their rights in accordance with the provisions of labor law. He added that they must have health insurance, get the appropriate fees, get extra payment for working overtime, transport to and from universities regulated by university authorities.
The Indonesia Trade and Economic Chamber (KDEI) in Taipei earlier received a complaint from the students about the internship that has lasted since 2017.
"In response to the complaint, the KDEI in Taipei has coordinated with local authorities to seek clarification," Director for the Protection of Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities at the Foreign Ministry Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said in a short message text released on Wednesday.
Based on the preliminary result of investigation conducted by KDEI, the students joining the internship scheme at eight institutes of higher learning in Taiwan faced different situations. Hence, KDEI will conduct further investigation to find a comprehensive picture of the situations.
In response to the current situations, the Foreign Ministry, through the Trade Ministry, has asked KDEI to further study the information on the situation of the students joining the internship and ensure that the local authorities will take concrete steps to protect the interests and safety of the students.
KDEI should also coordinate with the local authorities to temporarily suspend the recruitment and dispatch of students joining the internship until better governance is agreed upon.
Some six thousand Indonesian students currently study in Taiwan, including some one thousand students who have joined internship. The number of Indonesians studying in Taiwan is expected to increase, along with the New Southbond Policy of the Taiwanese authorities, which provide more scholarships through various schemes to students from 18 Asian countries.