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Introduction to new foreign talent act
Tuesday, 8 May 2018
The ECCT's Better Living and Human Resources committees jointly hosted a lunch on the topic: "Introduction to new foreign talent act - Benefits for foreign individuals and businesses" featuring guest speaker Lin Gyh-mei, Director-General of the Department of Human Resources Development under the National Development Council (NDC). The event was arranged to explain the main provisions of the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals, which formally went into force on 8 February 2018. In addition to describing the main benefits, the speaker outlined the main responsibilities of various government agencies and the requirements and implications for individuals planning to or already living in Taiwan as well as businesses operating or planning to set up operations in Taiwan. Besides the NDC, the event was also attended by government officials from various other ministries, who sat among guests at the lunch. After the presentation officials joined Director-General Lin on the stage for a Q&A session during which they answered questions from members about the act.  
 

For event ppt please click:   中文    English

The act relaxes previous regulations pertaining to visas, work permits, taxes, insurance, pensions and residency for foreign professionals and their families. The government’s stated rationale for the act is to address Taiwan’s talent shortage that has been caused by changing demographics and talent outflow from Taiwan. The intention is to build a friendly environment that attracts foreign professionals to live and work in Taiwan and thereby help to upgrade Taiwan’s competitiveness. Through inducements and the lifting of restrictions foreign professionals might encounter in current regulations related to living and working in Taiwan, the act aims to aid in the recruitment and retention of international talent needed for Taiwan’s industrial development and upgrading, and to increase the quantity and quality of professionals to fill the gaps in terms of domestic talent and technology, and thereby help Taiwan transformation into a high-tech and high added-value economy.

The Act contains 22 articles involving 12 central government agencies. It relaxes work, visa and residency regulations for foreign professionals, their spouses, parents and children and provides retirement, health insurance and tax benefits.

The act’s recruitment targets are: foreign professionals (which includes freelance artists and cram school teachers), foreign special professionals (which includes those earning an average monthly salary above NT$160,000, members of national academies of science, recipients of prestigious international awards, those recommended by credible associations or those holding high executive positions), and foreign senior professionals (such as those possessing skills in R&D or managerial work or unique capabilities in science, research, industry or commerce, or those who have earned awards in international competitions).

Under the new act, foreign special professionals are eligible to apply for a four-in-one “Employment Gold Card” that combines a work permit, resident visa, Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and re-entry permit. The card is valid for 1-3 years, which may be renewed upon expiry. Since card holders are not tied to a single employer, the card makes it more convenient for the holder to change jobs. In addition, under the act, foreign freelance artists are allowed to obtain work permits without applying for them through employers while cram schools in Taiwan are allowed to hire foreign teachers with expertise or professional teaching skills.

The act also eases restrictions on the spouses, parents and children of foreign professionals. A provision in the act already implemented by supporting regulations is an amendment to the National Health Insurance Act to allow newborn babies of legal foreign residents in Taiwan to be covered by the national health insurance plan upon birth. The revised health insurance rule overturned the previous stipulation that foreign parents with resident status in Taiwan could only obtain health insurance for babies six months after they were born. Another change in the act is that the minimum duration of stay of 183 days per year for maintaining permanent residency has been abolished. Moreover, foreign permanent residents are now eligible for the New Pension Scheme under the Labour Pension Act.

Foreign special professionals are also eligible for a 50% tax reduction on the portion of their annual salary in excess of NT$3 million during the first three years of work in Taiwan.

Each central competent authority has stipulated specific qualifying criteria according to the characteristics and demands of specific industries to recruit foreign professionals who meet specific criteria and possess specialised knowledge and skills. The speaker went on to outline the criteria and qualifications that have been specified by the various ministries in the fields of science and technology, the economy, education, culture, the arts, sports, finance, law and architecture. She also gave an overview of the process to apply for an Employment Gold Card.

Foreign professionals may now also apply for “Employment-Seeking Visas” valid for three months. In addition, the act allows adult children of foreign professionals working in Taiwan to apply for work permits.

The NDC has set up a dedicated website covering all aspects of the new act, including application procedures and contact windows.
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