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Taiwan passes prelim review of draft bill on foreign talent

2017/10/19 22:56:42

CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) A draft bill aimed at drawing more foreign white-collar workers to Taiwan passed a preliminary review by a joint legislative committee on Thursday.

The Draft Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent aims to ease Taiwan's regulations pertaining to visas, work permits, taxes, insurance, pension and residency for foreign professionals and their families.

It extends the work and residence permits for foreign white-collar professionals from the current maximum term of three years to five years.

It also removes the requirement that such workers must remain in Taiwan for 183 days per year to maintain their status.

In addition, the bill allows foreign nationals to enter Taiwan on a job-seeking visa that will be valid for six months instead of the current three.

Under the proposed regulations, an Employment Gold Card that includes a work permit, residence visa, alien residency permit and re-entry permit will be introduced for foreign professionals.

The "four-in-one card" makes it easier for foreign talent to change jobs in Taiwan because they would no longer have to depend on their employers to apply for a work permit.

In terms of taxes, during the first three years of employment in Taiwan, certain categories of foreign professionals will be taxed on only half of their income in excess of NT$3 million (US$99,209), according to the draft bill.

Under the bill, foreign white-collar workers who have been approved for permanent residency will be eligible for inclusion in Taiwan's labor pension system, and upon retirement, they will have the option of either a lump-sum payment or a monthly pension.

The draft bill also stipulates that the spouses, minor children and disabled children of foreign professionals may apply for permanent residency in Taiwan along with the worker.

In addition, the spouses and children will no longer have to wait six months to become eligible for Taiwan's National Health Insurance, and can be insured as soon as they obtain documentary proof of residence, according to the draft bill.

A supplementary resolution was also passed Thursday, stating that there should be a limit to the number of individuals receiving a job-seeking visa every year. The quota should be decided depending on the demand and should be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review every year, according to the resolution.

During the joint session of the Legislative Yuan's Economics, Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene, and Education and Culture Committees, National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said it was a priority of the current administration to recruit more foreign professionals.

"The act will help us retain and recruit international talent needed for the future development and upgrading of Taiwanese industries, and boost Taiwan's competitiveness," said Chen, whose council proposed a version of the draft act.

Kuomintang Legislator Hsu Yu-jen (許毓仁), who proposed another version of the draft act, said statistics from the Ministry of Labor show that there are only over 17,000 foreign professional technical workers in Taiwan as of September last year.

"It is imperative to introduce foreign talent in order to promote Taiwan's economic and technological development and boost the international competitiveness of Taiwanese industries," he said.

(By Christie Chen)