The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said yesterday it has imposed stricter rules on Chinese nationals who come to Taiwan for professional training amid concerns that they might take jobs away from locals.
Proposing amendments to the Rules Governing Permits for Professional Personnel from the Mainland Area Engaging in Professional Activities in Taiwan (大陸地區專業人士來臺從事專業活動許可辦法) and Rules Governing Permits for -People from the Mainland Area Engaging in Business Activities in Taiwan (大陸地區人民來台從事商務活動許可辦法), Chinese businesspeople or professionals will now be allowed to stay for no longer than a month, down from three months previously, with an annual quota of 100 trainees per company, the ministry said.
The proposed amendments, which await final approval from the Executive Yuan, came after Taiwan-based Young Fast Optoelectronics Co was investigated for allegedly using Chinese workers under the pretext of sending them to Taiwan for business training, the ministry said.
Local labor rights groups have accused the company of laying off workers so they could hire cheaper Chinese labor, and staged repeated protests until prosecutors started to look into the case.
Chu Cheng-chi (朱政麒), a spokesman for the protesters, said such illegal activities could be behind the sharp increase in Chinese businesspeople and highly skilled professionals visiting Taiwan in recent years.
Citing statistics from the National Immigration Agency, Chu said 180,000 applications by Chinese businesspeople and professionals to visit Taiwan were approved last year, up from 90,000 the previous year. As of August, more than 160,000 such applications had been approved, with the total number expected to top 200,000 by the end of this year, Chu said.
He said if such a scenario were true, it would run counter to the government’s promise “not to open Taiwan to Chinese laborers.”
The Beijing-friendly administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has vowed not to open its job market to Chinese nationals, despite signing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with Beijing in June.
The Ma administration has argued that the deal would boost economic growth and employment. However, opponents fear it will not only erode Taiwan’s sovereignty, but also affect its job market.