A hundred trained nurses from Indonesia are due to arrive in Taiwan early next year – the first time the Southeast Asian country will send medical professionals to work in the island state.

On October 12, the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers and an undisclosed human resources firm hired by Taiwan’s Workforce Development Agency signed a cooperation agreement, the Central News Agency reported on the weekend.

Tsai Meng-Liang, deputy head of the Labor Ministry’s Workforce Development Agency, said the move was a response to increasing demands from Taiwanese employers, who want professional nurses to cater for the needs of sick and elderly people in their homes.

However, Tsai stressed that certified nurses from Indonesia would not be authorized to do medical work as they lack licenses to do that in Taiwan.

Currently, there are 243,151 foreign workers doing social welfare work, 77% of whom are from Indonesia, which shows the vital role they play in looking after elderly people in Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Jakarta is also urging Taiwan to increase the minimum monthly wage for their domestic caregivers by at least 10% to NT$19,000 (US$630) from the current level of NT$17,000.

Tsai said a salary increase for Indonesian caregivers would be discussed in a meeting of labor officials at the end of the year.