Date: 2014-06-29 Data Source: Office of Information Services, Executive Yuan
Premier Jiang Yi-huah today approved an action plan to retain outstanding foreign students at Taiwanese universities to work in the ROC after graduation.
Starting July 1, 2014, the government will adopt a points- and quota-based mechanism—similar to those adopted by many other countries around the world—to evaluate the work-permit applications of foreign graduates of Taiwan’s tertiary education institutions.
This new system will use “pluralistic review” criteria assigning points for applicants’ academic and work experience, salary, language ability and special skills as well as the compatibility of their skills with the government’s industrial policy. The enterprise wishing to hire the graduate will apply on his or her behalf to the Ministry of Labor (MOL) for the work permit.
Previously, the chief criterion for a work permit application was based merely on the applicant’s salary meeting a stipulated level.
Those who graduated prior to this year are also eligible to apply, as are graduates originally from Hong Kong or Macau, but those from mainland China are not.
Premier Jiang stated that the new talent-retention policy, which was submitted by the National Development Council (NDC), encompasses three major aspects—cultivation, retention and recruitment—in other words, cultivating every student to become a talent, retaining the skilled graduates trained by the nation, and hiring talents that are in short supply in Taiwan, respectively.
“The government allocates a sizable amount of budget to education every year, and it is only logical for the nation to retain the graduates it fostered and trained in order to help raise its competitiveness and that of its enterprises,” the premier remarked. Foreign students are a major source of talent for Taiwan; therefore, improving the mechanism to retain them is an important link and a proactive means for the government to make sound use of human resources, he affirmed.
The nation’s aging population structure arrived at an important turning point in 2012, and in the future the working-age population (aged 15-64) will decrease by about 100,000 per year. In light of this trend, the government must adopt a more proactive human resources policy, the Executive Yuan stated.
Foreign students that have acquired ROC higher education diplomas are equipped not only with fundamental professional knowledge and skills but also with understanding of the societies and cultures of both Taiwan and their nations of origin, the Executive Yuan pointed out. Therefore, appropriate relaxation of current work restrictions will not only supplement the skilled work force needed by Taiwan’s industries, help domestic enterprises to expand into international markets, and enhance political and economic relations with the workers’ home countries, but also inject new dynamism into Taiwan’s economy, which will be conducive to raising the nation’s overall competitiveness.
In order to increase incentives for outstanding foreign students to work in Taiwan, Premier Jiang convened a human resources policy meeting on February 14 this year and directed the NDC to coordinate with related agencies to formulate this action plan.
The NDC pointed out in its action plan that countries worldwide such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore have successively adopted the points- and quota-based system in order to compete for skilled workers and recruit the requisite foreign students and professional talents.
Foreign students are special assets who are acquainted with the cultures and customs of newly emerging markets; thus, they complement local university graduates and can create job opportunities for ROC citizens by helping Taiwanese businesses expand into those economies, the NDC said.
However, the outgoing mechanism for retaining foreign students, which merely checked the worker’s prospective wage, can no longer meet the needs of different industries and changes in industrial environment and thus cannot supply enterprises with the special skills they require, the agency stated.
Thus, the NDC suggested adopting the point- and quota-based mechanism to replace the current single wage-level threshold, taking into reference the mechanisms of other countries to formulate the application assessment table that will serve as a basis for implementation by the MOL and other related agencies.
It is estimated that in the first year of implementation the quota will be about 2,000 people, or 37 percent of the foreigners graduating that year. The government will then conduct annual rolling reviews of the scoring system and appropriate quota based on past implementation results, domestic employment conditions and the prevailing economic situation. The MOL will be responsible for promulgating subsequent application procedures and other matters.