Bill proposed to attract foreign talent in key sectors

Cabinet on Tuesday proposed further relaxing rules governing the recruitment and employment of foreign professionals

(Image from user Karen Arnold)

(Image from user Karen Arnold)

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) The Cabinet on Tuesday proposed further relaxing rules governing the recruitment and employment of foreign professionals, in an effort to attract more overseas talent to meet the nation's needs in developing key industries and building a bilingual education system.

The extent to which the regulations governing recruitment and employment have been eased over the years "is insufficient" for Taiwan to attract foreign talent, National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said.

Under a new draft economic immigration bill, the government plans to deregulate restrictions on the employment of foreign professionals and executives unless otherwise stipulated by the competent authorities in specific industries, a move that would open up a wide range of sectors.

As an example, Chen said, if the bill passes the Legislature as proposed, foreign professionals who come to Taiwan to work as teachers will be allowed to teach non-language courses at elementary, junior and senior high schools.

Currently, the employment of foreign professional as teachers is restricted to language courses at cram schools, elementary, junior and senior high schools, in addition to universities or colleges where there is no restriction on the courses they can teach.

The proposed relaxation is being made with a view to creating a bilingual learning environment in schools for the younger generation and to meet the needs of a growing number of foreigners living and working in Taiwan, Chen said.

Meanwhile, the draft bill allows key industries designated by competent agencies -- such as green technology, biopharmaceutical, intelligent machinery, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, digital technology, among others -- to employ foreign professionals regardless of scale of capital or size of business.

The draft bill also proposes loosening rules on foreign professionals applying for permanent residency for themselves and family members.

For example, if the bill is passed, foreign nationals qualified as "foreign special professionals," under the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals, will be able to apply for permanent residency provided they have stayed in Taiwan for an average of 183 days a year over three years.

For those who have a doctoral degree, the bill reduces the residential qualification period to 183 days a year for two years.

Currently "foreign special professionals" are required to have resided in Taiwan for more than 183 days per year for a period of five years in order to qualify for permanent resident status.