Restrictions on the hiring of foreign workers, including skilled and unskilled workers, as well as foreign and ethnic Chinese students, are to be eased to counter a continuing decrease in the nation’s labor force, the Executive Yuan said yesterday.
The Cabinet said it would revise regulations on foreign workers’ employment and stay by the end of this month, with an aim to hire or keep about 6,000 to 7,000 foreign workers in the following year based on the changes.
Ministry of Labor official Liu Chu-chun (劉佳鈞) said that the nation’s labor force has dwindled in recent years, as it has been losing about 20,000 to 30,000 workers per year to other countries.
The government is hoping to attract and retain foreign workers in the face of a brain drain and a shortage of skilled workers, he added.
The ministry has decided to scrap the thresholds on capital and revenue for companies to hire foreign skilled workers, Liu said.
“The requirements regarding foreign employees’ wage and work experience will also be canceled. A point-based system will be introduced instead, with working permits granted for those scoring more than 60 points based on their educational attainment, foreign language ability and professional competence,” he said.
“Those hired with a monthly salary of more than NT$47,971 will be exempted from the point-based assessment,” he added.
“Another big change is the spouse and children of foreign white-collar workers will also be allowed to work as professionals, unbound by thresholds of wage and experience,” he said.
Current regulations that put a cap on the number — 2,500 per year — of foreign graduates of Taiwanese universities, including those of Chinese ethnicity, allowed to stay and work in the country are also to be eased.
Employers would no longer be required to meet minimum capital and revenue thresholds of NT$5 million (US$151,962) and NT$10 million respectively to be able to hire foreign graduates, who would be allowed to stay in Taiwan if they reach 70 in the point-based system, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, about 5,000 foreign students graduate from Taiwanese universities every year, but most of them leave the country after finishing their studies.
“Only 620 stayed in 2012, and about 930 in 2013. The figure almost doubled in 2014, reaching 1,721, because we started the point-based system that year,” he said.
“Also, [thresholds on] wages would no longer be part of the evaluation of the point-based system. It would now be counted simply as a bonus point,” the official said.
Unskilled foreign workers, which numbered about 585,000 as of October, would be recategorized as skilled workers after working in Taiwan for nine years.
The change in working status would make their visa or permanent residency application easier, with the residency of their spouses and dependents also being taken into consideration, Liu said.
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