In order to relieve the problem of agricultural labor shortage, the Council of Agriculture (COA) promulgated the Directions for Reviewing of Outreach Agricultural Services Program on May 8, 2019, and began to accept applications for the outreach organization for agriculture. As of September 4, 106 applications have been submitted to the COA’s Office of Agricultural Labor Administration for review. 22 of the 106 applications consisting of 207 laborers have passed the screening and the outreach organization have been granted permits to introduce the first group of foreign laborers to work in agriculture in October.
The COA explained that to ensure the service quality and the implementation result of the program, the COA has invited counseling institutions of the industry, local governments, experts, and scholars to establish the Agricultural workforce management team, which is tasked with reviewing the applications and proposals submitted by applying agencies or establishments. Moreover, to better evaluate the feasibility of the program and to reduce operational risks, all applying agencies or establishments must conform to the following criteria: sound financial standing for the past one year with no liability or other high operational risks, scored “excellent” or “A” at least one year for the past three years, applying for more than 5 foreign workers and capable of implementing or expanding the said program.
The COA pointed out that the Agricultural Foreign Labor Service program appointed farmer associations, fisherman associations, as well as agriculture, forestry, fishery and animal husbandry cooperatives, or non-profit organizations to play the role of outreach organization, which will be responsible for introducing foreign laborers, job assignment, food and lodging arrangement, daily task management, training, workplace safety measures, and necessary transportation arrangements, among others. The ultimate goal is to solve the problem of seasonal shortage of agricultural Labor through labor resource management. The principal objective of the Agricultural Foreign Labor Service program is to replenish essential labor force. The COA expects to familiarize farmers with the Outreach Agricultural Services model through this program, and gradually establish an integral labor platform.