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White collar foreigner working situation and the recent policy which has been broadened

    According to the present law, employers have to apply for a work permit for foreigners before working in Taiwan. Not every kind of business entity is eligible to apply for it. Referring to Article 46, Subparagraph 1 to Subparagraph 11 of the Employment Service Law, foreigners can only work in 11 categories.

    Subparagraphs 1 to 6 are regulations for the white collar foreigners. And they are also known as the foreign specialist due to their expertise in a field. They are different from those blue collar foreign laborers, who are under regulation Subparagraphs 8 to 11.

    The government has taken into consideration different policies for introducing white collar and blue collar foreigners. The blue collar foreigner works in manufacturing, construction, family caretaking and nursing. They solve the problem of labor shortages in the Taiwan market. The white collar foreigner is for Taiwan’s shortages in specialized skills or expertise in a certain area. Due to the different policy strategies, there are fewer limitations for the white collar foreigner then there are for the blue collar. There is a control mechanism in place to manage the number of blue collar foreigners.

    The Legislative Yuan on Oct. 31, 2017 passed the bill “Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals” submitted by the National Development Council, which aims to build a more friendly work and working environment by extending the limitations of the visa, work and residence, and by optimizing the national health insurance, tax and pension. It’s the newest strategy to appeal to foreign experts to stay in Taiwan, improve industrial upgrading and transformation and enhance the ability to compete in the world market. (Details are shown in the Figures)

    By the end of September, 2017, there were 32,031 white collar foreigners working in Taiwan. Among which 18,842 persons, 58.8%, are of the specific or technical trade, such as the construction trade, legal trade and medical insurance agents in which the related certificates, practice qualifications or certain work experiences are required to be in accordance with the needs of each trade. 2,809 persons represent the next largest group, working in the investment business. At times some foreign artists come to Taiwan and promote their arts. Some stay for just a day while others stay for several. No matter the length of time, an application for work permit is necessary. Now there are 1,611 artists, which represents the third largest group of white collar foreigners. There are 1,404 foreign teachers working for the cram school, which represents the fourth largest group of white collar foreigners working in Taipei. The foreign teacher working for the cram school should be at least 20 years old with a bachelor degree and the language taught ought to be the official language that the foreign teachers speak.

    The other terms of qualifications for each job category are stipulated on the Qualifications and Criteria Standards for Foreigners undertaking the jobs, specified under Article 46.1.1 to 46.1.6 of the Employment Service Act. The category and terms specified in the Act were tedious. The procedures of applying for a work permit for the employer or the employee were complicated and tedious as well. So now it is suggested that the employer consult with the Ministry of Labor before employing to avoid unnecessary delays or being fined due to illegal employment.
    Both the employer and the white collar foreign experts are required to have certain qualifications. Only with the approval of the application is the foreigner able to come and work in Taiwan. Though the regulations are strict, except for those who are not aware of the law, there is still illegal employment for the private gain. The cram school, for example, doesn’t apply for the work permit for the foreign teacher because he or she is not eligible. And when the Taipei City Foreign and Disabled Labor Office visits, the cram school conceals that the foreign teachers are teaching or asks the foreign teachers to leave the cram school quickly. Sometimes the cram school conceals the foreigner and employs them when their work permits have not yet been approved. When being found, the foreigner will be deported within a limited time, which will influence the foreigner’s safety and work rights, and as a result the English education will be impacted.

    As to the normal targets suspected of illegal employment, the government will visit the business more often and promote the regulations in order to protect the employment of local people and protect legal foreigner’s work benefits. These regulations encourage foreign professionals, help establish a friendly, safe and dignified working environment, and build Taipei as one of the best choice for foreigners!

Highlights of the regulations changes for recruitment and employment of foreign professionals

(The version passed after being read three times by the Legislative Yuan)
original regulations

new regulations

Employment is only available for teachers of
language cram schools.

relaxing of the working visa and residential regulations for foreign professionals

opening up employment of foreign teachers for skill cram schools
Work permits are to be applied by employers for foreign artists. Work permits can be applied by employees themselves.
The employment and staying duration of specific foreign professionals is 3 years. broadening the period to 5 years
Those foreign professionals obtaining the permanent residency in Taiwan for less than 183 days per year, the permanent residency will be annulled. Being permitted the permanent residency, those who leave Taiwan for more than 5 years their permanent residency will be annulled.

Work permits are to be applied by employers for specific foreign professionals.

Instead of their employers, specific foreign professionals are able to apply for the “Employment Gold Card, which includes work permits, residential visa, alien resident certificate and re-entry permit, by themselves.

The immediate family of specific foreign professionals is eligible to apply for a 6 month visitor visa.

relaxing of the regulation of staying in Taiwan for the spouse and children of specific foreign professionals Total stay duration can be extended to one year.

(This part has no original regulation corresponding to it.)

Those specific foreign professionals who obtain a 5-year-residency, whose spouse and minor children and disable children over 20 years of age can obtain the residency as well.

(This part has no original regulation corresponding to it.)

Those specific foreign professionals, who obtain the permanent residency, whose spouses, minor children and disable children who reach 20 years of age and who lawfully reside in Taiwan continuously for 5 years and reside more than 183 days a year, may apply for the permanent residency.
Those specific foreign professionals who obtain the permanent residency, whose adult children meet the requirements of extension can obtain a work permit through the employer.

Those who meet one of the following requirements may apply for work permits by themselves :

1. Living in Taiwan for 10 years and every year thereafter while staying in Taiwan for more than 270 days a year
2. Entering Taiwan under 16 years of age and
every year thereafter living in Taiwan for more than 270 days a year
3. Born in Taiwan and live in Taiwan for 10 years, and every year thereafter living in Taiwan for more than 183 days a year

The maximum staying time for the visa of the foreigner is 6 months.

relaxing of the regulations for foreigners to find work in Taiwan Foreign professionals who need longer time to look for jobs may apply for the 3-month and multi-entry visa. The maximum total stay duration is 6 months.

Foreign professionals and teachers obtaining the permanent residency may collect a one time retirement bonus.

relaxing of the rental tax, retirement and health insurance

Monthly pension is optional.

Foreign professionals’ spouses and minor children residing in Taiwan for more than 6 months may receive the health insurance.

Foreign professionals’ spouses,
minor children and disable
children over 20 years that are not able to manage his or her life independently, with the
residence document, may be
exempted from the 6 month
waiting time to receive the health

(This part has no original regulation corresponding to it.)

For those specific foreign professionals, who are initially approved to work in Taiwan and obtain the Golden Employment Card, if their income is over 3 million during their first stay and the stay is at least 183 days, they can get some tax relief.