Sat, Dec 30, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Revamped laws can attract foreign workers, minister says

Staff writer, with CNA

Faced with a shrinking working population caused by the declining birthrate, the government is to overhaul existing immigration laws, National Development Council (NDC) Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said on Thursday.

The changes would be made to meet the needs of local industry, a departure from regulations which focus on national security, as Taiwan looks for ways to deal with the huge challenges posed by an aging society and the effect of having too few professionals, Chen said.

Taiwan’s working population began to shrink last year after peaking at 17.37 million in 2015, she said, adding that it is expected to fall to 15.16 million in 2030.

The immigration laws need to be revamped to help Taiwan attract skilled workers from overseas, Chen said.

Taiwan should build an environment that is friendly to foreigners, both white and blue-collar workers, to meet the needs of an industry already plagued by a labor shortage, she said.

Statistics compiled by the Ministry of the Interior show that the fertility rate, which refers to the average number of children each woman is expected to have in her lifetime, is 1.17 in Taiwan, one of the lowest in the world.

A total of 208,000 Taiwanese babies were born last year, but that number is likely to dip under 200,000 this year, she said.

Since assuming office in September, Premier William Lai (賴清德) has raised the issue several times.

Lai on Wednesday vowed to take measures to help boost Taiwan’s fertility rate to 1.4 by 2030 at a year-end news conference.

On Dec. 21, Lai called a third special meeting on immigration policy and talent cultivation, asking the NDC to explore new ways of attracting foreign talent and draft new immigration regulations to promote that objective.

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