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Premier to push new immigration policy

Lai said government will push a new immigration policy that seeks to encourage SE Asian students to work and apply for citizenship in Taiwan

Premier to push new immigration policy

(CNA photo)

Taipei, Nov. 28 -- Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Monday that the government will push a new immigration policy that seeks, among others, to encourage Southeast Asian students currently studying in Taiwan to work and eventually apply for citizenship here.

According to Lai, there are currently tens of thousands of these students in the country, of which nearly 20,000 are from Malaysia.

Some areas the policy will cover include internships for students in manufacturing, agriculture and long-term care, so they can earn an income whilst studying, said Lai.

In addition, objective goals could be established for permanent residency and if they marry and have children, they could be granted citizenship, he added.

These matters are all under discussion, Lai said.

The population of Taiwan is decreasing while the labor force remains at approximately 10 million, Lai said.

The unemployment rate in October was 3.75 percent, which means 375,000 people are without a job, he said.

However, as the unemployment rate can never be zero and the lowest it can get is two percent, and that means there are only 175,000 people available for work, he added.

The truth is that Taiwan's economy needs to grow and it will be hard to do so with such a limited labor force, hence Taiwan needs to address the issue of immigration seriously, he said.

This year the number of seniors 65 and over reached parity with the number of children 14 and under, with people over 65 now accounting for 14 percent of the population, which means Taiwan is an aged society, Lai said.

Taiwan's population, now at 23.5 million, will begin to see negative growth in 2025 and fall below 20 million around 2050, which means the issue of immigration must be dealt with urgently whether the focus is economic growth or the population crisis.

Updated : 2022-05-21 08:40 GMT+08:00