The Ministry of Labor yesterday launched a program to provide a pathway to permanent residency for migrant workers, and foreign and “overseas compatriot” students who earn an associate degree in Taiwan.
The program focuses on the long-term retention of students and migrant workers employed in manufacturing, construction, fisheries, caregiving and agriculture, the ministry said.
Migrant workers employed in one of those fields for six years are eligible to be reclassified as “mid-level skilled workers,” which their employer can apply for them and can be renewed every three years without limit, the ministry said.
After working as a “mid-level skilled worker” for five years while meeting the minimum wage requirement, they can apply for permanent residency, in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法), it said.
For migrant workers employed in the manufacturing, construction, agriculture and fishing industries, the minimum wage requirement for application eligibility is NT$33,000 per month, the ministry said.
Caregivers at institutions would be required to make at least NT$29,000 per month, while those working in private homes would have to show that they make NT$24,000 per month, it said.
The income requirement has faced criticism, especially from caregivers working in private homes, who say their average monthly salary is only about NT$17,000.
A total of 659,382 migrant workers, mainly from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, were working in Taiwan at the end of March, but only about 208,351 were eligible to apply for the program, ministry data showed.
For foreign and overseas compatriot students who graduate from a Taiwanese college with an associate degree, they can be immediately classified as “intermediate-skilled labor” at their job, but must earn a minimum of NT$30,000 per month to qualify for permanent residency, it said.
The program seeks to retain at least 80,000 migrant workers, and 80,000 foreign and overseas compatriot students by 2030, the Executive Yuan said in a statement.
Overseas compatriot students refer to people of Chinese ethnicity who were born and lived overseas, or to Taiwanese nationals who had resided overseas for more than six consecutive years until their return to Taiwan for studies.
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