China, Taiwan workers set to fight for rice bowl: DPP

By Enru Lin, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A new Cabinet policy is set to pit Chinese workers against locals for Taiwan’s jobs, said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday. Starting April at the earliest, Taiwan-owned multinational firms are allowed to transfer mainland Chinese personnel to their Taiwan branches, under an act revision approved by Premier Jiang Yi-huah earlier this month. The Cabinet policy also provides for employees to bring spouses and minor children, who may be educated in local schools. At the Legislative Yuan, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) urged Jiang to “immediately back up from a precipice.” The premier’s new regulation seems like a minor change to how Taiwan’s multinational companies can conduct internal transfers. In reality, the act will bring an unprecedented number of Chinese white collar workers into Taiwan’s job market, said Pan at a caucus press event on Monday. According to the latest registries data, there are 1,073 China-based Taiwan firms that would be eligible to transfer Chinese personnel under the new policy. If every firm transferred ten workers across the Taiwan Strait, that’s 10,000 Chinese workers in the Taiwan job market, according to Pan. “There are also many unlisted China-based Taiwan companies … If there are just 10,000 unlisted companies, that’s 100,000 Chinese workers in the Taiwan workforce,” he continued. At the press event, DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) took issue with the policy’s schooling provision: Minor children of Chinese employees may enroll in local schools, enabling Chinese students to “enroll at Taiwan’s name-brand schools without passing examinations.” DPP Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) stressed that transferred personnel would place an additional burden to Taiwan’s health insurance system.

The central government covers 40 percent of the employees’ health insurance, while the firms themselves contribute nothing. In addition, Chinese personnel are exempt from the supplementary premium, said Su. In 2003, Taiwan government officials allowed foreign multinational companies to station Chinese personnel at their Taiwan branches or subsidiaries for up to a year. Permission did not extend to Taiwan-owned multinational firms. According to an act revision approved this March, both foreign and Taiwan-owned multinational firms may station Chinese personnel in Taiwan for the duration of three years, which may be extended by another three years for a total of six.