Sat, Nov 17, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan to review immigration rules

HUMAN CAPITAL:A minister underlined the need to create a ‘friendlier’ environment, eg, applications for citizenship and permanent residence, to attract foreign workers

Staff writer, with CNA

The nation needs to further ease its immigration regulations, starting with citizenship and permanent residence rules, in order to attract more white-collar foreign workers, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said yesterday.

Taiwan is vying for foreign talent, but “currently, many of our rules are still not very friendly,” Lee said in Taipei at the opening of an international forum on immigration policy.

Foreign businesses have difficulty with the nation’s accounting system and its rendering process, Lee said.

The government should try to find ways to cut red tape for such businesses, he said.

“There are many things that local people may be used to and may find normal, but that white-collar foreign nationals from developed countries might not,” Lee said.

The government will “examine each and every rule to provide a friendlier environment” for foreign nationals, starting with applications for citizenship and permanent residence in the country, he said.

Human resources experts from countries including the US, Taiwan, Canada, China, South Korea and Singapore, along with local government officials, were attending the International Conference on Immigration Policy.

The topics discussed at the one-day event included immigration policy, human capital and how to attract talent.

Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias, a policy analyst for the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, said that any country aiming to recruit foreign talent should create institutions and programs for emigrants and their descendants who maintain material ties to their countries of origin.

“They identify with their country of origin or ancestry and are willing to maintain ties to it,” she said.

Creating a conducive legislative and regulatory framework is critical to persuading such people to stay in Taiwan, Agunias said.

In addition to incentives, regulations and legislation sometimes play a more important role, such as political rights, property rights and tax deductions, she said.

Charles MacAdam Beach, a professor emeritus at Canada’s Queen’s University, offered his opinions on Canada’s program for soliciting skilled workers during a speech he made at the conference.

Applicants have to pass a point system screening in which points are based on the skills and adaptability of workers, and the needs of the economy and the work force, Beach said.

Implemented in 1967, the system is intended to provide a more transparent, fair and objective approach that reflects reduced discrimination, he said.

However, he acknowledged that the system might be slow to keep up with the changing needs of the economy and the labor market.

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