Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers are divided over whether a draft bill to relax restrictions on foreign graduates seeking internships in Taiwan would create a loophole for firms to introduce cheap foreign workers and lower average salaries.
The Cabinet has proposed granting one-year visas to foreign college graduates within two years of their graduation and a two-year internship visa to specialists in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
At present, only current students can apply for internship visas, not graduates.
The bill would also relax constraints on residence and work permits, taxation, healthcare and retirement benefits to attract foreign white-collar workers to make up for a brain drain Taiwan is experiencing and boost the nation’s competitiveness.
The Cabinet draft is under review at the legislature.
DPP Legislator Lin Shu-feng (林淑芬) on Monday said that the internship rules were only made to relieve “the shortage of cheap white-collar workers for businesses.”
While businesses are required to pay at least NT$47,971 per month for a foreign white-collar worker, there is no minimum or maximum on intern salaries, which Lin said would allow businesses to hire cheap workers instead of high-salaried specialists.
The outflow of white-collar workers Taiwan is experiencing has been caused by wage stagnation, and easing rules on internship visas would only prolong the stagnation, Lin said.
“If foreign graduates are allowed to intern in Taiwan within two years of their graduation, will they take over low-level white-collar jobs?” Lin said on Facebook.
DPP Legislator Karen Yu (余宛如) has come under fire for her support of the Cabinet’s proposal.
Yu said the National Development Council estimates that the relaxation would have a limited effect on Taiwan’s labor market, and the legislation would only allow for an increase of 200 foreign interns per year.
There were only 458 foreign interns last year, and increasing that number would hardly affect the job market, regardless of the interns’ salary level, Yu said.
“Is it not strange to link the wage stagnation problem of Taiwan’s job market — which has more than 10 million workers — with that handful of foreign interns?” she said.
The law was drafted taking into account the immigration laws of other nations, she said.
Changes must be made to the industrial structure to enable Taiwan to compete in the future, she said.
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South