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Restrictions on hiring foreign nationals in Taiwan eased

2015/12/02 18:49:32

Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) The Executive Yuan on Wednesday decided to ease restrictions on hiring or retaining foreign professionals, students and laborers in Taiwan, which is expected to keep an additional 6,000 to 7,000 foreign nationals in Taiwan a year.

Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) approved the easing of restrictions proposed by the Ministry of Labor at a meeting of the Cabinet.

Under the new regulations, which will take effect at the beginning of next year, companies hiring foreign nationals will no longer have to have paid-in capital of NT$5 million (US$152,855) and sales of NT$10 million, and foreign hires will no longer be required to have two years of work experience in their field.

Also, foreign professionals are currently required to have salaries of at least NT$47,971 a month to be hired by a local firm. But for foreign employees who do not meet that threshold in the future, an assessment based on points will be used to judge their qualifications.

If an individual's academic background, foreign language ability and professional ability add up to more than 60 points, the person can work in Taiwan, regardless of pay.

The new rules will also allow the spouses and children of foreign professionals to work in Taiwan.

Liu Chia-chun (劉佳鈞), director of Workforce Development Agency under the Labor Ministry, said in the meeting that Taiwan's pool of skilled people is on the decline, with between 20,000 and 30,000 white-collar professionals flowing out of Taiwan every year.

"Faced with the exodus of professionals and the shortage of grassroots skilled workers, we hope to ease restrictions to retain good foreign workers," Liu said.

The number of foreign professionals in Taiwan averages between 26,000 and 29,000 per year.

Liu also said that currently foreign laborers have to leave Taiwan after working here for 12 years, but many of them have received good technical training in Taiwan and are often solicited by Japanese and South Korean companies after they leave Taiwan.

That outflow, he said, was "tantamount to sending quality workers nurtured by Taiwan to our competitors."

Under the new rules, based on point-assessment system, employers can apply to retain foreign workers who have worked here for nine years and can change their classification to "skilled workers" for an extended period of time. An estimated 1,500 workers per year can be retained in Taiwan under the new regulation.

The ministry is also planning to have these foreign skilled workers apply for permanent residency and naturalization after working in Taiwan for five years.

As for foreign and overseas Chinese students, they will be subject to an assessment system based on points collected, and restrictions involving the paid-in capital and sales of companies hiring them and the existing quota of 2,500 per year will be scrapped.

Also, around 2,000 overseas Chinese studying in vocational schools or classes, who now have to leave Taiwan after completing their studies, will be considered as college graduates under the new rules and will be allowed to stay in Taiwan based on the assessment system.

According to Liu, the above-mentioned changes in the regulations will take effect in January, but some other changes will require revisions to the Nationality Act and Employment Service Act, and he hoped the revisions could be completed by the end of 2016.

(By Ta Ya-Chen and Lilian Wu)
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