TAIWAN – Law easing rules on foreign professionals nears passage

The new law is aimed at expanding opportunities for foreign professionals to fill labor shortages and skills gaps and to help improve Taiwan’s economy.

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IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? A proposed law that eases work and permanent residency rules for foreign nationals has passed the initial round of legislative review and may receive final passage by the end of the year.

What does the change mean? The Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent Act would introduce a 4-in-1 multi-use work and residence permit that foreign professionals could apply for without approval by an employer. Other provisions would lengthen the maximum duration of work permits, eliminate minimum annual residency rules to maintain permanent residency, expand eligibility for permanent residency of dependents under age 20, and give permanent residents greater access to retirement and health care benefits.

  • Implementation time frame: Estimated April 2018.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits, residence visas, Alien Resident Certificates, Alien Permanent Resident Certificates, re-entry permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign professionals and their family members in Taiwan, including Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR passport holders.
  • Business impact: The law is aimed at attracting and retaining foreign talent in Taiwan.
  • Next steps: The proposed law is scheduled for two additional rounds of legislative review before the end of the year. If it passes, the law would take effect at the beginning of the second quarter of 2018.

Background: The proposed law contains the following provisions that would benefit companies and expatriate employees:

  • 4-in-1 “gold card.” The card would serve as a work permit, residence visa, Alien Resident Certificate and re-entry permit. Employees would be able to apply for the card without an employer’s approval and holders of the cards would be allowed to change jobs without restrictions.
  • Work permits and Alien Resident Certificates would have a maximum duration of five years instead of the current three years.
  • Foreign residents would no longer need to reside in Taiwan for 183 days per year to maintain their APRC cards, but the card would become invalid if the resident stays outside Taiwan for five years.
  • Dependents under age 20 who have stayed in Taiwan for five years (minimum 183 days per year) would be able to apply for permanent residency. Currently, this group cannot convert a residence card to a permanent residence card even if they meet the five year/183-day rule.
  • Permanent residents would have faster access to the National Health Insurance system and access to retirement and social security benefits.

BAL Analysis: The new law is aimed at expanding opportunities for foreign professionals to fill labor shortages and skills gaps and to help improve Taiwan’s economy.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Taiwan. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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