Taiwan has issued 584 gold cards to foreign professionals in 2 years

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Employment gold card for foreigners in Taiwan. (Facebook photo)

Employment gold card for foreigners in Taiwan. (Facebook photo)

Taiwan has issued almost 600 gold cards to foreign professionals in two years after the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent took effect Feb. 8, 2018, the National Development Council (NDC) said Saturday (Feb. 8)

As of the end of January, the NDC had issued 584 employment gold cards based on the act, which was passed to ease Taiwan's regulations pertaining to visas, work permits, taxes, insurance, pensions and residency for foreign professionals and their families.

Under the act, an employment gold card includes a work permit, residence visa, alien residency permit and re-entry permit.

The card makes it easier for foreign nationals who lack permanent residency status to change jobs in Taiwan because they no longer have to be dependent on their employer for a work permit.

In a statement, the NDC said 318 foreign professionals obtained their cards for their economic expertise, accounting for about 55 percent of the total number issued to foreigners under the act.

Foreigners who received gold cards for their technology expertise made up 18 percent of the total, while those who were granted gold cards for their cultural expertise represented 11 percent, those who received the gold card for their in-depth financial knowledge accounted for 8 percent, and those with expertise in education made up 7 percent, the NDC said.

According to the NDC, professionals from the United States who received gold cards made up 23 percent of the total issuances, the largest group, ahead of Hong Kong (15 percent), the United Kingdom (8 percent), Malaysia (6 percent), Denmark (6 percent) and Singapore (4 percent).

Other professionals from South Korea, Germany, France and Japan have been also granted gold cards, the NDC said.

The NDC said that in just one month after the act went into effect, the council issued the first gold card to Steven Chen (陳士駿) from the U.S., a co-founder of the video-sharing website YouTube, for his outstanding achievements in technology innovations and software development.

Among other foreign professionals who received gold cards is Australian pianist Albert Muhlbock, who said in an interview with CNA that he cherished the flexibility to teach in various schools and offer private lessons instead of being tied to one employer, which would have been impossible without the gold card he obtained in 2018.

Most recently, NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) issued a gold card to Formosa Renewable Power Chief Executive Officer Frank Hojerslev from Australia.

In addition to the issuance of gold cards, the government has relaxed the interpretation of the scope and mechanism of tax concessions stipulated in the act to assuage concerns over the application of the gold card treatment, which has been praised by the foreign business community in Taiwan.