Fri, Jul 11, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Movers witness expat exodus to China

MIGRATION Moving companies say that more expatriate professionals are leaving the country than are coming here and most emigrants are going to Shanghai and Beijing

By Bill Heaney  /  STAFF REPORTER

International moving companies in Taiwan are witnessing an exodus of expatriates from the island to China, especially to Shanghai, officials from various companies said yesterday.

"The trend over the last couple of years is for people moving to China, especially to Shanghai," said Sherry Liu, general manager at Crown Worldwide Movers Ltd. "In 2001, most of the movement was back to the US, but last year the top destination was China."

Last year, Crown Worldwide saw a 9 percent increase in the number of people leaving Taiwan, and a 30 percent decrease in people coming in.

Because of the impending departure of one large foreign project, Liu expects the numbers moving to Shanghai to triple this year.

Shanghai is also the top destination for another moving company.

"Right now it is mostly company employees who are being moved to China," said Peter Fu (胡承紘) of Taiwan's Green Van International Co (綠威). "Every week we move about two people to China. Most of the shipments we pack are for Shanghai, with a few for Beijing."

Mostly, it is construction engineers coming into Taiwan, he said.

"Currently there are 10 percent fewer people moving into Taiwan than moving out," Fu said.

The engineers are moving here to work on large infrastructure projects that require engineering expertise from overseas.

"We have seen about the same number of foreigners moving into Taiwan for the North-South High Speed Rail Link, especially Japan-ese, Koreans and English people," said an official at Beacon International Express Corp (聯海通運), which operates under the name Daily Mover (得力孟母), on condition of anonymity. Beacon has also seen more people making the move to Shanghai over the last two years.

Crown Van Lines is moving 20 families a month to China.

"Companies are sending their employees to China, mostly to Shanghai, then Beijing and Guangzhou," said Jerry Sun (孫文得).

But Sun has seen a dramatic drop in foreigners moving to Taiwan.

"Most people moving back are Chinese," he said. "They are returning after completing projects overseas, say setting up a factory, for example. The number of foreigners we are moving to Taiwan has dropped by 50 percent."

Another indicator that foreigners are packing their bags is that the number of alien resident certificates issued by the National Police Administration (NPA) fell by 7 percent last year, to 378,481 from 406,692 in 2001, according to figures from the NPA's foreign affairs desk.

This number includes workers from southeast Asia employed as factory workers and care-givers, but Council of Labor Affairs statistics show that the number of migrant blue-collar workers remained stable over the same period, falling slightly from 304,600 in 2001 to 303,684 last year.

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