Chinese professionals will be allowed to work in Taiwanese-owned multinational corporations for up to three years as early as the end of this month, Minister Without Portfolio Schive Chi (薛琦) said.
Since 2003, foreign-invested multinational firms in Taiwan have been permitted to internally transfer employees from China to work in Taiwan for up to one year, but the rule did not apply to Taiwan-owned multinational corporations.
Facing complaints from the business community, officials have proposed lifting the ban on local enterprises and extending the duration to three years.
The proposal was approved at an inter-governmental meeting chaired by Schive on Thursday and was sent to Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) for approval.
According to the proposal drafted by the Ministry of the Interior, multinational firms, regardless of the nationality of their investors, may transfer management and other professionals from their Chinese subsidiaries to those in Taiwan if the candidate has been employed by the Chinese subsidiary for at least a year.
Multinational firms under the rules are defined as firms headquartered in Taiwan with subsidiaries in at least two countries, excluding Hong Kong, Macau or China. The eligible professionals will be granted work permits of up to three years duration, extendable by another three years each time they renew their permits, without an upper limit on the renewal time. Entry permits will also be granted to their spouses and underage children, the proposal said.
Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) raised concern that the policy was a prelude to Taiwan opening even further to Chinese professionals.
He said that it was almost set in stone that the policy would also be applied to manufacturing industries in soon-to-be-created free-trade zones in Greater Kaohsiung, Taoyuan, Taipei and Greater Taichung, targeting Chinese investors and China-based Taiwanese investors.
Since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008, the annual number of work permits granted to Chinese professionals under the allowance has been about 180,000 on average, up from an annual average of between 40,000 and 50,000 in previous years, Hsu said.
Hsu said the policy would exacerbate wage stagnation and the ongoing exodus of Taiwanese talent and professionals, problems that the nation has been facing for a decade.