Tue, Oct 02, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Executive Yuan finalizes policy for more foreign workers

IMPORTED TALENT:Various agencies contributed to the policy, which will allow firms to up the ratio of foreigners in their workforce if they pay more into a local labor fund

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

More foreign workers are expected to be recruited after the Executive Yuan yesterday finalized a policy to exempt certain enterprises from abiding by limits placed on hiring foreigners in order to attract new investment, officials said yesterday.

The policy was decided at an interagency meeting attended by officials from agencies in charge of economic and labor affairs that was presided over by ministers without portfolio Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) and James Hsueh (薛承泰).

At a press conference, Kuan praised the conclusions reached after “everyone made concessions to each other,” saying that the policy would “make the labor market more flexible” to “pave the way for new investments.”

Currently, the government uses a five-tier system to regulate the ratio of foreign workers in an enterprise’s total workforce. Different ratios are ascribed to each sector, ranging from between 10 percent and 35 percent, with the maximum amount, 40 percent, placed on enterprises established in the nation’s six zones designated as free ports.

Under the new policy, investors who establish a factory in the country in the next two years would be allowed to recruit an additional 5 percent or 10 percent of their total workforce from foreign countries, below the ceiling of 40 percent, Kuan said.

In the first three years after the investment is made, an employer must pay a monthly fee of NT$2,000 for each foreign worker hired into the Employment Stabilization Fund (ESF), set up under the Labor of Labor Affairs (CLA) and used in vocational training for unemployed local laborers remains the same, Kuan said.

From the fourth year onwards, enterprises will be required to pay a higher fee into the ESF fund, but the amount was not decided at yesterday’s meeting due to disagreement among officials, Kuan said, adding that he was expecting a decision on the matter next week.

Former CLA minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) — who resigned last week over a decision made by the Cabinet to not raise the minimum monthly wage next year as the council had suggested — had previously proposed charging NT$6,000 for enterprises granted an extra 5 percent in their foreign worker ratio, NT$8,000 for 10 percent and NT$10,000 for 15 percent, but economic officials were strongly opposed to it.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Council for Economic Planning and Development suggested an increase of less than NT$2,000 for employers allowed to raise the ratio by 5 percent, NT$3,000 for 10 percent and NT$4,000 for 15 percent.

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