Sun, Nov 02, 2008 - Page 2 News List

New plan approved for attracting highly qualified foreigners

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Executive Yuan has approved a visa program aimed at attracting highly qualified foreigners to come to Taiwan for academic exchanges, employment or investment, a government economic planner said on Friday.

“Under the program, three special cards — an academic and commercial travel card, an employment pass and a ‘plum blossom’ permanent residency card — will be issued starting next year to attract outstanding foreign professionals,” Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Vice Chairman San Gee (單驥) said.

San said the council-proposed special visa program emulates the US green card, the EU’s blue card and South Korea’s IT card, gold card and science card in loosening entry restrictions for highly qualified foreign individuals to make them more willing to come here to share professional expertise or invest in local industries.

“Under the program, procedures for persons of international repute and senior professionals to apply for entry and residency will be simplified in line with the global trend of attracting outstanding talent,” San said.

He said that prominent figures who want to come here for purposes other than work would be issued “academic and commercial travel cards” valid for up to three years, with no limit on the number of visits. They would be eligible to stay for a maximum of 30 days on each visit.

Highly qualified foreign individuals intending to take a job here would be issued a “four-in-one” card known as an “employment pass,” which would incorporate a visa, work permit, alien resident certificate and re-entry permit, San said.

People intending to immigrate to Taiwan based on their professional expertise or investment will be issued “plum blossom” permanent residency cards, San said.

The Ministry of the Interior would establish regulations covering application procedures, required documents and qualifications, the council official said.

Meanwhile, a council proposal to exempt graduates of the world’s top 100 universities from a requirement that they must have two years experience before they can work in Taiwan has not yet been approved by the Cabinet.

“In light of the high domestic unemployment rate, the Cabinet has demanded that the CEPD come up with more extensive measures before opening the door wider to graduates of famous universities, to avoid hurting local college graduates’ chances of getting jobs,” San said.

Nevertheless, it would be regrettable for a new graduate from Harvard University to be denied the opportunity to work in Taiwan simply because he or she failed to meet the work experience requirement, he said.

“If Taiwan wants to upgrade its service industry, it should take bold steps to ease restrictions regarding the hiring of highly qualified immigrant workers,” San said.

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