Nearly 500 migrant workers in Yilan County, northeastern Taiwan, have been unaccounted for since last year, raising concerns for lawmakers that they could be endangering public safety.

According to the Employment Services Acts, a migrant worker who absconds from their job can be declared a runaway after three days, the Liberty Times reported.

Statistics from the Yilan County government show there were 476 missing migrants across the county in 2018, mostly Indonesians and Vietnamese.

Wu Chih-Hung, chief from the Labor Affairs Department of the Yilan County government, said there could be many reasons migrant workers run away from their employers.

They could be persuaded by their compatriots to leave, or because they wanted to earn more money quickly. Meanwhile, some suffered from abuses or were controlled by human trafficking syndicates.

Local politician Lin Chi-Shan spoke in a meeting with the Labor Affairs Department, raising concerns over migrants working in black markets and threats to the safety to the neighborhood. Some even became thieves.

Politician Wu Hong-mo also said the county government should keep in touch more frequently with employers.

The labor chief answered the politicians’ questions and said the department had been stepping up efforts to combat runaway migrant issues and conduct more visits to ensure workplaces are better and more friendly.