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Amendments to the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals Approved by the Legislative Yuan
The draft Amendments to the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals drawn up by National Development Council (NDC) was approved by the Legislative Yuan today. Minister Kung, Ming-Hsin appreciated the support from legislators of each political party to make the draft Amendments pass the examination in the Legislative Yuan. The Amendments aim to build a more complete legal framework for recruiting talents, so more international talents can "get in" and "stay". NDC’s mission is to make Taiwan a talent hub of the Asia-Pacific region --- a veritable "Asian Silicon Valley". To ensure that foreign professionals meet certain qualifications, the Amendments relax regulations on work, residence, dependency, while optimizing social protection without reducing the salary threshold. The main points of the amendments are as follows:

1. Expanding the scope of foreign professionals: Adding the field of national defense to the expertise of “foreign special professional”; building the consultation mechanism of the competent authority on examining the expertise of “foreign special professional”; allowing the "Special Classes for Children of Foreign Talents" approved by the Ministry of Education to hire foreign subject teachers; adding teachers of experimental education to the scope to foreign professionals; exempting graduates of the world’s top universities announced by the Ministry of Education from being required to have at least two years’ work experience as a prerequisite for taking up specialized or technical work.

2. Easing of provisions concerning independent and dependent residency: Allowing foreign professionals and foreign special professionals who enter the country with a visa exemption or visitor visa, and their dependent relatives, to apply for an Alien Residence Certificate without needing to apply for a resident visa; easing the conditions for Foreign Special Professionals (e.g. Gold Card Holders) to obtain permanent residency by shortening the requisite duration of residence from five years to three years, and allowing 1 to 2 years spent at school in Taiwan obtaining advanced degrees of master’s level and above to be counted toward fulfilling the requisite duration of continuous residence.

3. Optimizing social protection and tax concession: Extending from three years to five years the period in which foreign special professionals can utilize the tax concession bestowed on them by this Act; relaxing the law to provide for foreign special professionals and foreign senior professionals who meet the criteria for being insured as employers or self-employed business owners, together with their dependent relatives, to join the NHI system without having to wait for six months.

 NDC will cooperate with related ministries to complete relevant regulations and measures as soon as possible, and report to the Executive Yuan for designating the implementation date, so the laws can apply to foreign professionals and their relatives. In addition to amending the Act, NDC will continue to promote the global recruitment action targeting talents of the 5+2 and Six Core Strategic Industries, and establish policy coordination mechanisms to address issues related to Employment Gold Card applications, settling in Taiwan, job matching, starting a business, etc. The vision is to enrich the national talent pool and accelerate industrial transformation and upgrading by building a comprehensive legal framework and implement measures to attract more global talents and outstanding youths to come to Taiwan. 

Before/After Comparison of the Main Points of the Amendment
Main Points of the Amendment Amended Provisions Before & After Difference
Broadening the scope of professional work §4 Foreign subject teachers and experimental education work are added to the definition of professional work. Previously, foreign teachers in secondary and elementary schools could only teach foreign languages; in the future, they will be able to teach other subjects in MOE-approved special classes for children of foreigners; also, work in experimental education will be included as professional work.
Adding fields of special expertise and a mechanism for recognition of special foreign professionals §4 The listing of 8 main Fields is completed and National Defense has been added. A mechanism is also added for recognition of special expertise by the Competent Authority (NDC) in consultation with the relevant central competent authority. Previously, only some of the Fields were listed; in the future, all 8 Fields will be fully listed, with the addition of National Defense, and a mechanism for recognizing special expertise will also be added.
Relaxing eligibility for graduates of top universities to work in Taiwan §6 Graduates of the world’s top universities are exempted from being required to have two years’ work experience to come to work in Taiwan. Previously, foreigners with a bachelor’s degree needed to have two years’ of work experience before they could be employed to engage in specialized or technical work in Taiwan.
Exempting from applying for work permit §7 Foreign professionals and their dependent relatives are exempted from applying for work permits once they have gained permanent residency. Previously, those approved for permanent residency needed to apply with the Ministry of Labor for a work permit; in the future, that will no longer be necessary.
Providing for extension of Employment Gold Card §9 Providing for pre-expiry application to extend an Employment Gold Card. Previously, an Employment Gold Card holder had to apply for its renewal when it expired; in the future, they can apply for its extension.
Exempting from applying for a Resident Visa §12 Those entering Taiwan with a visa exemption or Visitor Visa may directly apply for an ARC without first applying for a Resident Visa. Previously, those who entered with a visa exemption or Visitor Visa had to apply for a Visitor Visa of appropriate duration or a Resident Visa before they could apply for an ARC; in the future, they will be able to apply directly for an ARC.
Allowing Employment Gold Card extensions for 6+6 months §13 Employment Gold Card holders may apply for up to two pre-expiry extensions of 6 months each. Previously, Employment Gold Card holders could only reapply for a card when it expired; in the future, they will be able to apply for two extensions of up to six months each.
Relaxing requirements for applying for permanent residency §14 Requirements for the principal applicants:
  1. Required presence in Taiwan changed from 183+ days per year to “average” of 183 days per year.
  2. Required period of residence for foreign special professionals shortened from 5 years to 3 years.
  3. Required period of residence may be reduced by 1 to 2 years for those who have obtained a master’s or doctoral degree in Taiwan.
§16 Requirements 1 and 2 above are  the same for dependent relatives as for the principal applicants.
Previously, foreign professionals needed to have continuously resided in Taiwan for five years, being present for 183+ days in each of those years, before they could apply for permanent residency; in the future, they will only need to have been present for an average of 183+ days per year instead of 183+ days every year, and foreign special professionals will only need to have continuously resided in Taiwan for three years, which can be further shortened by one to two years if they obtained a master’s or doctoral degree in Taiwan.
Expanding the scope of those whose family members may utilize benefits conferred by the Act §15 The availability of personal work permits for adult children who meet specified conditions is extended to the children of all types of foreign professionals, hired or unhired. Previously, this benefit applied only to the adult children of foreign professionals hired to engage in professional work; in the future, it will apply to all foreign professionals, including unhired ones working as freelance artists under Article 10, and also foreign special and senior professionals.
§18 The availability of Visitor Visas for lineal ascendants to stay for up to one year is extended to all special professionals (hired or unhired) and senior professionals. Previously, this benefit applied only to special professionals hired to engage in professional work; in the future, it will apply to all special and senior professionals, including those who are not hired as employees or providers of professional services, but have come to Taiwan to start businesses, set up companies, and so on.
Extending the tax concession §20 The tax concession for foreign special professionals is extended from 3 years to 5 years, and the provisions for deferral of utilization are deleted. Previously, this tax concession was available for only three years; in the future, this will be extended to five years.
Broadening exemption from the waiting-time for NHI coverage §21 Foreign special and senior professionals who are employers or self-employed business owners, and their dependent relatives, can join the NHI system without a 6-month wait. Previously, only foreign professionals hired to engage in professional work and their dependents were exempted from the 6-month wait for NHI cover; in the future, foreign special and senior professionals who are employers or self-employed business owners, and their dependents, will also be exempted.
Broadening the application of retirement security provisions §22 Participation in the retirement pension system is opened to unhired foreign professionals and special professionals who are permanent residents. Previously, only foreign professionals hired to engage in professional work could participate in the retirement pension system; in the future, this right will be extended to unhired foreign professionals (including those working as freelance artists under Article 10) and foreign special professionals.
§23 The option for teachers to choose a monthly pension instead of a lump-sum pension is extended to researchers employed by public institutions (such as Academia Sinica). Previously, only foreign public school teachers with APRCs could choose between a monthly or lump-sum pension; in the future, foreign APRC holders employed as researchers in public institutions will also have the same right of choice.
Enhancing the rights of dependent relatives of naturalized ROC citizens §26 The dependent relatives of naturalized citizens may utilize some of the provisions of the Act (re permanent residency, adult children’s personal work permits, and visitor visas for lineal ascendants) on a mutatis mutandis basis. Previously, the dependent relatives of those who became ROC citizens by naturalization could not utilize the provisions of this Act; in the future, they will be able to utilize part of the provisions.

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