Cabinet approves draft bill easing regulations on foreign professionals

New legislation is aimed at streamlining regulations on working in Taiwan for foreign white-collar workers.

2013 Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Kaohsiung (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Cabinet approved on Thursday a draft bill that is designed to streamline regulations governing the employment of foreign white collar workers in Taiwan and to incentivize their participation in the local workforce. 

A major new change in the draft Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent is the removal of the requirement that foreign white-collar workers with permanent residence remain in Taiwan at least 183 days per year in order to maintain their permanent status. 

However, this status will be revoked if a resident holder does not return to Taiwan for more than five years.

Foreign nationals will be allowed to seek employment in Taiwan on a job-seeking visa that would be valid for six months instead of the current three, and could be extended for another six months without having to leave the country. 

The draft bill calls for the creation of a "Employment Gold Card," which would be provided to certain categories of foreign professionals. 

The proposed law would also provide foreign professionals with a "four-in-one card," which includes a work permit, residence visa, alien residency permit and re-entry permit.

The new law would offer foreign professionals with an annual salary of NT$2 million (US$65,486) tax incentives for up to three years.

Under the new law, foreign professionals, their spouses, and non-adult children would no longer have to wait six months to become eligible for Taiwan's national health insurance. Also, children and spouses of foreign white collar workers with permanent residence status will not longer be limited on the length of time they stay in Taiwan. 

As for foreign teachers, the Ministry of Education will be given authority to issue work permits instead of the Ministry of Labor.

The draft would encourage students who graduate from the world's top 500 universities to participate in internships in private companies in Taiwan, but the minimum monthly salary would be set at NT$47, 971 to avoid taking jobs from local Taiwanese citizens. In general, those without any work experience would need to present a degree from one of these top 500 universities. 

The proposed legislation will allow freelance artists and performers to apply for work permits themselves and will no longer require them to obtain sponsorship from prospective employers. 

Certain categories of foreign professionals will only be taxed half of their income in excess of NT$2 million during the first three years of employment in Taiwan, under the proposed law. 

As for pensions, foreign white-collar workers will be eligible to receive Taiwan's new labor pension, and those who are permanent residents will have the option to choose between receiving a lump-sum payment or a monthly disbursement upon retiring. 

The bill has been sent to the legislature for processing.