Taiwan looks to Southeast Asia to plug talent gaps
Taiwan is considering expanding its immigration policies to entice skilled workers from Southeast Asia in an effort to mitigate the loss of talent to Beijing.
According to reports, Taiwan’s lawmakers are likely to arrive at a decision in October on whether to offer citizenship to students and skilled workers from Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Under the proposed legislation, very highly-skilled foreign professionals in Taiwan might be eligible to apply for permanent residency in as few as three years. Other professionals, as well as students graduating from Taiwanese universities, will also be eligible – though these will have to wait anywhere between five to seven years.
In addition to addressing brain drain to mainland China, the bill seeks to also address Taiwan’s shrinking labour force due to an aging population.
According to National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-Ling, 20% of Taiwan’s population will be over 65 years old by 2026.
Chen said the economic immigration bill is aimed at recruiting foreign professionals and making Taiwan more welcoming to immigrants.