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Business groups unhappy draft bill excludes investment immigration

2018/08/07 22:54:00

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) Local business groups are not optimistic about a draft economic immigration bill newly completed by the National Development Council (NDC), saying that excluding investment immigration from the draft act is a missed opportunity.

The remark came as the NDC released the draft act Monday that targets three categories of foreign talent -- professionals, mid-level skilled workers, and Taiwanese expatriates and their offspring, but excludes investment immigration.

Chairman Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰) of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China (Taiwan) said the government shouldn't have removed the option just because it is worried that the influx of funds into the country will be difficult to manage.

If the government rejects foreign investment because of concerns about financial management difficulties, "it is just as strange as having a tailored suit made without pockets," Lai said.

To only target professional talent and exclude the option of investment immigration is equivalent to rejecting funds that could be invested in Taiwan, Lai said.

Tsai Lian-sheng (蔡練生), secretary-general of the Taiwan-based Chinese National Federation of Industries, said the exclusion equates to blocking foreign investment in Taiwan.

The biggest problem with Taiwan's economy is that investment is stagnant and to promote economic activity, the government must strive for both talent and injection of funds, Tsai said.

NDC deputy chief Kao Shien-quey (高仙桂) explained that investment immigration was excluded from the draft act at the last minute and will remain covered by existing laws.

Investment immigration was not included in the bill because Taiwan already has fairly accommodating regulations on investment immigration compared with other countries, Kao said.

Under existing rules, people who invest NT$15 million (US$490,738) in a business that employs five or more people or who invest N$30 million or more in government bonds or other financial products are eligible to apply for permanent residence after three years.

The NDC considered easing the eligibility thresholds but decided against it after the Financial Supervisory Commission insisted on keeping the ceiling for overseas investment in government, corporate and financial bonds at 30 percent of the amount the investor remits into Taiwan.

Easing the restriction would have made it harder to manage capital flows and would have resulted in higher administrative costs for only limited benefits, according to Kao.

The draft act has been published on the council's online policy platform, and people can present their opinions on it until Oct. 5. It then has to be approved by the Executive Yuan before being submitted to the Legislature for review.

(By Kuo Hsin-yi and William Yen)