Sputnik-jabbed OFWs can now work in Taiwan

Filipinos interested to work in Taiwan and vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines are now allowed to apply at the de facto embassy of Taiwan in the Philippines, the BusinessMirror learned Friday.

Taiwanese representative to Manila Peiyung Hsu said that the Ministry of Labor of Taiwan has given the OFWs who were immunized with Sputnik Gamaleya vaccine “permission to enter Taiwan for employment.”

The Taiwanese envoy informed this new policy to Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III in a letter dated April 15.

Last February, Taiwan lifted the ban on the deployment of workers from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, but required that the workers from the four Southeast Asian countries need to be fully vaccinated from Covid-19.

However, around 100 OFWs whose applications have already been processed in May 2021 could not be issued visas because their vaccines were Sputnik V.

Taiwan is only allowing Covid-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization or the Taiwan’s Health Authority for emergency use. This prompted the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) to stop accepting applications from OFWs who were vaccinated with Covid-19.

The affected OFWs then appealed to Bello, saying they were just victim of circumstances—following Philippine government orders to be vaccinated, whatever is available and regardless of vaccine brand.

Bello wrote to the TECO representative last March.

Ambassador Hsu said the Taiwanese government agreed to allow Sputnik-jabbed Filipinos “based on reciprocity.”

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the BusinessMirror, was not clear on the reciprocity arrangement the Philippines and Taiwan in allowing Sputnik vaccinated Filipinos to Taiwan. Last month though, Manila and Taipei had signed a reciprocity agreement on vaccine certificate issued by both countries.