Taipei, (CNA) The government has drafted a revised version of the Immigration Act targeting medium-level skilled foreign professionals as part of its efforts to tackle a manpower shortage in Taiwan, National Development Council (NDC) Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said in a recent interview with the Central News Agency.
The new act drafted by the NDC will seek to appeal to foreign professionals in areas where manpower will be most needed by local industries over the next 20 years, Chen told CNA on Monday.
As long as recruitment of foreign professionals does not affect the local employment market or depress wage levels, wind turbine technicians will be among the first foreign talent targeted by the government, she explained.
With Taiwan’s birth rate remaining low and society aging fast, the decrease in the number of young people has adversely affected society at all levels.
“To effectively address the issue, we need to face it with an open mind,” she said, stressing that “we must not lock ourselves up and should welcome foreign professionals to Taiwan.”
“However, many foreign professionals still cannot obtain permanent residency to work in Taiwan due to legal restrictions, something that we must change in order to better appeal to skilled foreign workers.”
“To that end, more than 200 laws and regulations have been relaxed.”
On Feb. 8, the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals came into force, a milestone in Taiwan’s efforts to accelerate the pace at which it recruits foreign talent, she explained.
In contrast with the existing Immigration Act which was enacted in 1999 to unify entry and exit controls, safeguard national security and provide immigration guidance, Chen said the revised act offers economic incentives to attract skilled foreign workers to come and work in Taiwan.
As soon as a cross-agency task force set up on instruction of Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) makes its final revisions, the new act will be referred to the Legislative Yuan for approval, Chen said.
(By Chen Cheng-wei and Flor Wang)