TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Cabinet on Thursday (April 15) gave the green light to a draft amendment to the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent, in a bid to attract and retain more white-collar professionals.
At a Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the 5+2 Innovative Industries Plan and Taiwan's Six Core Strategic Industries are in great need of foreign talents. Cabinet Spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) then announced the Cabinet has approved a draft amendment to the foreign talent act that includes three new components: relaxed requirements for foreign teachers, shortened criteria for permanent residency, and expanded tax reductions and health insurance access.
1. Relaxed requirements for foreign teachers
In response to Taiwan's plan to become an English-Mandarin “bilingual nation” by 2030 and to meet the educational needs of the children of foreign talent, the Ministry of Education will relax the requirements for foreign teachers to be employed at schools approved by the ministry to teach children of foreign professionals.
2. Shortened criteria for permanent residence
The continuous residence requirement for foreign professionals to become eligible for permanent residence status will be lowered from five years to three. The required period of residency for foreign professionals and "foreign special professionals" who have obtained master's or doctorate degrees in Taiwan can be reduced by one to two years.
"Foreign special professionals" refers to foreigners who have expertise in fields such as science and technology, economics, education, culture, the arts, sport, or other fields.
3. Tax incentives and health insurance access
Tax deductions for foreign special professionals will be extended from three to five years. Over this five-year period, foreign special professionals who make an annual income of NT$3 million (US$106,000) or higher can deduct half of their salary from their gross income calculation when assessing taxes.
In addition, foreign professionals and their family members will immediately be eligible for Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI). Normally, foreigners must wait six months before they can qualify.
Devised by the National Development Council (NDC), the draft bill had originally also included a provision specifying that graduates of the world's top 500 universities would be exempt from the two-year work experience requirement for a work visa. However, Deputy Minister of Labor Shih Keh-her (施克和) said this exemption was removed from the draft, as it can be arranged via administrative order and will be considered by the Ministry of Labor in the future.