Sat, Nov 23, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Elderly expats returning: OCAC

PULL FACTORS:Taiwan’s good public order, medical services and living environment have likely contributed to the number of Taiwanese returning, the OCAC minister said

Staff writer, with CNA

An increasing number of expatriates are returning to Taiwan to live out their remaining days, Chinese-language media reports quoted the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) as saying.

According to the council’s data, many Taiwanese who moved abroad during the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis and the 2003 SARS epidemic have flocked back in recent years.

The number of Taiwanese expats in South Africa reached 70,000 at its peak, but the number has decreased to 5,000, it said.

OCAC Minister Steven Chen (陳士魁) attributed the shifting trend in migration to a combination of factors, including Taiwan’s good public order, medical services and stable living environment.

The number of Taiwanese expats stood at 1.81 million at the end of last year, OCAC data showed.

Among them, 930,000 were residing in the US and 95,000 in Canada.

The rising number of Taiwanese expatriates who returned has reportedly drawn concern from the Canadian representative in Taiwan.

Estate agents have reported an increase in demand for retirement properties and holiday homes from returning expatriates.

While some are returning permanently to be closer to their relatives, others want a seasonal retreat to stay at on their trips to their homeland.

Chang Gung Health and Cultural Village, with its proximity to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and a large park, has attracted many returning expatriates to take residence.

Nearly half of its 600 residents are elderly former expatriates.

Chen said that many Taiwanese who moved overseas with their children during the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis have reached their retirement age.

“Now that their children have grown up, a number of these expatriates have chosen to return to Taiwan,” Chen said.

The 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis refers to China’s firing of missiles into Taiwanese waters to intimidate Taiwanese.

Taiwan has made progress in improving living standards and its economy in recent decades, Chen added.

Besides elderly expatriates, an increasing number of second-generation expatriates have moved to Taiwan to build their careers.

“In comparison with Shanghai and Hong Kong, Taiwan provides a much easier and more friendly environment for second-generation expatriates to launch new ventures,” Chen said.

Over the past years, more American-born Taiwanese have come to Taiwan to build up online ventures, OCAC data showed.

The Chinese-language United Evening News cited Lai Chih-cheng (賴志誠) as an example in its report.

Lai and his two brothers moved to South Africa in the 1980s.

At the time, it was easy for them to buy homes and launch businesses there.

However, with public order worsening in Johannesburg, Lai and his brothers decided to move back.

Lai currently operates a tourism farm and hostel in Miaoli.

He said he is happy to return to his roots because life in Taiwan is easier and happier.

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