Wed, Aug 08, 2018 - Page 12 News List

NDC unveils draft legislation to boost recruitment, retention of foreign talent

Staff writer, with CNA

The National Development Council (NDC) on Monday unveiled draft economic immigration legislation targeting three categories of foreign talent — professionals, mid-level skilled workers and Taiwanese expatriates and their children.

The primary goal of the proposed legislation is to boost the recruitment and retention of mid-level skilled foreign talent in fields such as engineering, manufacturing and information and communications technology, the council said.

The bill defines mid-level skilled workers as foreign graduates of high schools or vocational schools in Taiwan, workers who have been employed in the nation for a certain number of years and technical staff recruited from abroad.

International students enrolled in certain educational programs — such as the Overseas Youth Skills Training Program or industry-university cooperation courses designed for students from South and Southeast Asia — would also be considered mid-level skilled workers, the bill says.

Foreign employees covered by the draft act and their family members would be able to apply for permanent residency and naturalization after living in Taiwan for seven years, it says.

The legislation aims to establish minimum salaries of NT$41,393 (US$1,352) for foreign talent working in the industrial sector and NT$32,000 for those working in the social welfare sector.

It would also allow businesses in designated industries — such as green technology, biopharmaceuticals, intelligent machinery, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and digital technology — to employ foreign professionals regardless of the company’s size or capital.

As of August last year, there were 218,000 open positions in the nation’s industrial sector, 55 percent of which, or 120,000, were characterized as medium-skill jobs, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics data showed.

Investment-linked immigration was excluded from the draft act, because Taiwan has already accommodative regulations on for such immigration compared with other nations, NDC Deputy Minister Kao Shien-quey (高仙桂) said.

Foreigners who invest at least NT$15 million in a local company that employs at least five people or invest at least N$30 million in government bonds or other financial products could apply for permanent residency after three years.

Easing the rules would make it difficult to manage capital flows and result in higher administrative costs in return for only limited benefits, Kao said.

The draft act has been published on the council’s public online policy platform and people can comment on it until Oct. 5.

The legislation would then need to be approved by the Executive Yuan and submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review.

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