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Foreign Professionals Act


  • date:2018-05-18
Taiwan Unveils Proposal to Attract Mid-Level Foreign Staff
Publication Date: May 16, 2018 | 
Premier Lai Ching-te (third left) and NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling (right) are joined by other Cabinet officials in outlining the new economic immigration draft bill May 15 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Executive Yuan)
A draft economic immigration bill aimed at boosting recruitment and retention of foreign talents was unveiled by the Cabinet May 15.
The proposed legislation relaxes work visa and residency requirements for skilled professionals, mid-level technicians, investors and overseas citizens and their children so as to strengthen industrial development and tackle challenges related to Taiwan’s low birthrate.
Premier Lai Ching-te said that as the population is expected to drop below 20 million by 2035, the law will help address labor shortages and attract the skilled workers necessary to ensure continued national development.
The bill is also expected to fast-track industrial transformation by lifting capital requirements on employers seeking to recruit foreign professionals in emerging sectors such as those included in the five-plus-two innovative industries initiative, Lai said. This economic revitalization program covers the biotech and pharmaceuticals, green energy, national defense, smart machinery and Internet of Things sectors, as well as the circular economy and a new paradigm for agricultural development.
One of the primary goals of the legislation is to boost retention of mid-level foreign technical personnel in fields like engineering, manufacturing, and information and communication technology. Manpower shortfalls in related sectors reached around 120,000 as of August last year, according to the Cabinet.
Mid-level foreign technical personnel are defined as overseas students who graduate from high school or vocational school in Taiwan, workers employed in the country, as well as staff recruited from abroad.
Under the proposed measures, such workers and their families will be eligible to apply for permanent residency and naturalization after seven and five years in the country, respectively. The bill sets minimum salary levels for these employees of NT$41,393 (US$1,385) in the industrial and NT$32,000 in the social welfare sectors.
The law will also relax the amount of capital required for foreigners applying for residency as investors as well as enable such immigrants to access financial products designated by the government as critical to national development.
According to National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling, the bill will establish a streamlined points-based evaluation system enabling foreign workers to determine whether they are eligible to pursue employment and permanent residency in Taiwan.
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