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Relaxed rules on foreign professionals to take effect Feb. 8 (update)

2018/01/25 22:29:13

Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德)/CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 25 (CNA) Adult children of permanent resident foreign professionals will soon be able to apply for a "personal work permit" to allow them to work in Taiwan, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) announced Thursday.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Lai said that the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals, which was passed Oct. 31 last year, will take effect Feb. 8.

According to Article 17 of the act, where a foreign professional has obtained permanent residency, his or her children aged over 20 will be able to file an application with the Ministry of Labor for a permit to work in Taiwan, provided they meet specific conditions.

Applicants must have accumulated a minimum 10 years of legal residency in Taiwan and stayed for more than 270 days each year, or they must have entered Taiwan before the age of 16 and spent at least 270 days each year since then, or must have been born in Taiwan and have lawfully resided for at least 10 years for more than 183 days each year.

The stipulation was introduced to address what has been described as the "draconian" rules of the Immigration Act and its bylaw Regulations Governing Visiting, Residency, and Permanent Residency of Aliens which have forcibly separated families in the past.

Those rules force children of foreign professionals to leave Taiwan once they turn 20 and do not have an employer to apply for a work permit for them.

After the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals comes into effect, eligible applicants can apply for a "personal work permit" to stay with their families in Taiwan, National Development Council (NDC) deputy head Kao Shien-quey (高仙桂) told CNA.

With that permit, "they can stay in Taiwan to look for a job" after they turn 20 and lose their dependent status, Kao said.

In addition, Kao said that applicants will not be subject to the rule on foreign professionals that they must have at least two years of work experience and receive a minimum monthly wage of NT$47,971 (US$1640) to work in Taiwan.

According to the bylaw drafted by the Ministry of Labor, the application fee for such a permit will be NT$100.

Before the new act comes into force, minor children of senior foreign professionals with permanent residency in Taiwan are ineligible to apply for that status as they can only reside in Taiwan as a dependent.

Since 2014, after losing their dependent status at 20, children of senior foreign professionals have been able to apply for a three-year extension to seek employment, which can be further extended once. Currently, to apply for permanent residency, they must meet the requirements laid out in Article 25 of the Immigration Act, which will remain in effect after the new law comes into effect.

That article states that they must have resided in the country for 10 years during which time they must have lived here for 183 days a year for a minimum of five years, and prove they have considerable property, skills or talent that enable them to make a living on their own.

In contrast, the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals eases rules governing applications for permanent residency by the spouses, minor children, or disabled adult children of permanent resident foreign professionals.

According to the act, spouses, minor children, or disabled adult children will be eligible to apply for permanent residency together with senior foreign professionals.

For foreign professionals, their spouses, minor children, or disabled adult children can apply for permanent residency after they have lived in Taiwan for five years, and spent no fewer than 183 days in the country each year.

An NDC official told CNA that the "personal work permit" and the rules for the adult children to apply for extension of dependent status would render it possible for them to apply for permanent residency under the Immigration Act because they would easily meet the requirement of living in Taiwan for 183 days a year for a minimum of five years.

Kao also briefed Lai on related bylaws needed to implement the Act, which includes easing Taiwan's regulations pertaining to visas, work permits, taxes, pensions and family visits to facilitate the recruitment and employment of foreign talent.

Lai instructed Cabinet officials to ensure that they are ready to start accepting applications from Feb. 8 so that the relaxed rules under the Act, which he said are a milestone in Taiwan's talent recruitment system, are properly enforced.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
Enditem/J/AW