Cabinet OKs draft bill on work environment for foreign professionals - Focus Taiwan

Cabinet OKs draft bill on work environment for foreign professionals

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft bill aimed at easing the regulations pertaining to visas, work permits, taxes and residency for foreign white-collar workers in Taiwan.

One of the major changes in the regulations, as laid out in the draft Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent, removes the requirement for foreign white-collar workers with permanent residence to remain in Taiwan for at 183 days per year to maintain their status.

Permanent status will be revoked if the permanent resident holder stays away from Taiwan for more than five years, according to the draft bill.

It also allows foreign nationals to enter Taiwan on a job-seeking visa that will be valid for six months instead of three and will be extendable for another six months without the holder having to leave the country.

Under the proposed regulations, a new category of work permit called the Employment Gold Card will be introduced for certain categories of foreign professionals.

The "four-in-one card" will include a work permit, residence visa, alien residency permit and re-entry permit valid for at least three years, according to the draft bill.

Regarding work permits for foreign teachers, the issuing authority will be the Ministry of Education rather than the Ministry of Labor, under the proposed regulations.

In terms of general eligibility for employment outside the teaching profession, foreign nationals with the required work experience will have to show that they were earning the equivalent of at least NT$47,971 (US$1,578) before coming to Taiwan, the draft bill states.

Those with no previous work experience will be required to present a degree from a university ranked among the top 500 in the world, according to the proposed regulations.

Meanwhile, students and new graduates of foreign universities will be permitted to seek internships at Taiwan companies.

In the category of foreign freelance artists and performers, they will be allowed to apply for work permits themselves and will no longer require a prospective employer to sponsor them.

In the area 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$2 million, according to the proposed regulations.

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

The draft bill also changes the regulations that apply to children and spouses of foreign white collar workers in Taiwan. In the case of those with permanent residence status, the restrictions on the length of stay for minor children and spouses will be removed.

In addition, the spouses and minor children of foreign professionals will no longer have to wait six months to become eligible for Taiwan's national health insurance, according to the draft bill.

The draft Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent now has to be sent to the Legislature for processing.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)


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