Attracting foreign workers

Is the Taiwan government completely avoiding the issue of why their young and talented are leaving in droves, and simply coming up with a quick fix by trying by encourage foreigners to work and live here who don’t know any better?

This is not just happening in Taiwan. Employers worldwide well know that when someone moves to a new country, their communication skills and knowledge of rights and conditions are limited, and this is something that they can take complete advantage of.

I don’t know, maybe I have become much too pessimistic for my own good? Then again, maybe Steven Hawking was right.

There’s really not much to fear. Taiwan is not and will never be an international destination for skilled workers so long as salaries are depressed, companies get away with violations, and foreigners are treated as second class in terms of getting loans and services only available to people with an ID
Even formerly third world places like Vietnam have improved and even they don’t want to come here anymore.

I don’t blame the government as much as I do private industry which has spoken and said they prefer to cater to local markets and not international


I blame the government. They are the ones who should defend the rights of workers against industry. In Taiwan they do the opposite, they have eroded workers rights on policy level. Even paths for resistance such as unionization has been blocked by government. Why would anyone move to a place where the countries government thinks that its role is to better help companies squeeze workers.


I agree. But if you come from a country where your rights and wages are appalling you would be relatively better off migrating to Taiwan, and that is why I suggest this may become a race to the bottom.

For the last thirty years I have been trying to get my head around Mian zi, and I would advocate it is partly responsible with what is happening to working conditions here in Taiwan. This cultural ideology appears to be of great advantage to the rich and powerful, and to the detriment of the poor and weak. There would be an enormous amount of Chinese peasants who may disagree with that, after being lifted out of poverty over the last twenty years in mainland China. But it is certainly something I find extremely perplexing and worthy of deep debate.


There are fewer and fewer places where this would be true in comparison to Taiwan. Maybe in Thailand an engineer would make less than Taiwan, but they wouldn’t be working till 1am and treated like a lower level species. The Thai workplace is probably more fun than Taiwan as well.

Are you sure? Labour rights are collectively worsening in developed countries and are not improving in developing countries at all.

You’d have to be pretty deluded to think that only in Thailand would an engineer make less than in Taiwan. Many engineers in Europe make less than their Taiwanese counterparts since the tax rate is very high. The standard salary for engineers is 50-60k in countries like Germany and NL, which isn’t exactly impressive numbers for the tech engineers in Hsinchu already, and the tax burden is >40%. Even after deductions the tax rate is still very high and you are likely to end up with less money (with a much higher cost of living). And that’s the countries that are doing well. In France it’s worse. Then there’s Southern Europe.

And they don’t work till 1 AM. Most get off work at 7-9, which is bad, but it’s not uncommon for engineers elsewhere to do the same either.

But it’s not just the money… it’s the whole other culture and language barrier.

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Worse than Taiwan?

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50-60k ntd ?

Exactly how good do you think the labour rights are in other countries? Especially developing ones. The standard work week in Korea for example, which is not a developing country, is still 209 hours per week.

50-60k EUR.

Yeah obviously not talking about Korea. At least Koreans get paid more as well. The government has reduced the maximum working week in Korea and Taiwan has extended it . Unions are legal there too

To answer your question, nearly every developed country has better labor conditions than Taiwan

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How much you think people get paid in Taiwan? They also don’t get 30 days of vacation like in Europe

Yeah … it went from a whopping 68 hour work week to 52 hour work week. Taiwan’s has been 48 maximum for years.

Besides, Korea’s salary is not nearly as good as you might think. Household income is nearly identical in Korea and in Taiwan. The only difference is that a higher portion of income comes from employment in Korea.

Because they are older developed countries. The younger developed countries like Taiwan, Korea, HK will have worse labour conditions than the older ones.

How much do you think engineers get paid in Taiwan? Do you know any? The first year offer is usually >1 million NTD at big firms and 800k in smaller ones. 50-60k EUR (gross) is not at all impressive for those who’ve had a few years of working experience. At TSMC for example the standard pay on your 5th year is 2 million NTD, and the tax rate of that bracket is only 20%.

And no one’s arguing that people have more holidays in Taiwan.

Korea and Japan are the worse in Asia in terms of work hours. Not a fair comparison.

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Oh man, even if you’ve use up your allowed leaves and take a long vacation, most will be bound to a disaster after coming back fro my he relaxed holiday. Try to use you personal leaves together with the Chinese New Year and get a vacation of over 20 days in a company you haven’t worked for at least 4-5 yrs and see what happens.


The number you quote is for bog standard engineers. For senior engineers or those in demand they can earn a lot more than that in Europe.
In Dublin 100k euro salaries are not uncommon for mid level managers. Many semi professional or professional couples would earn 150k , 200k euro a year working as accountants, finance types, IT engineers , sales and marketing, pharma jobs etc.
Yes you do get hit with a big wedge of tax in some countries. In UK not so much. It’s also true costs can be a lot higher in some western cities.

The IT guys I know in Taiwan get really badly paid.
It is rare in Taiwan to have couples that are well paid.
You won’t find one that is earning 3 or 4 million a year and the other earning 1.5 or 2 million NTD a year. Just isn’t common in my experience. Possibly because there are not that many well paid finance, marketing and service jobs here?

For regular workers Western Europe beats the pants off Taiwan regarding incomes. Then you have vacation, work rights , no crazy overtime and better social welfare in most of those countries. In Eastern Europe or southern Europe it’s not so great . But I heard Poland has picked up very well over the last few years.


That’s impressive considering there are only 168 hours in a week.


TSMC is an outlier in Taiwan. It is an extremely successful and profitable global company.
They can choose the best engineers and they pay very well.
Hsinchu has statistically the highest salary rates in Taiwan due to a few very successful companies based there. It’s a great story, but beyond Hsinchu and their well paid engineers it’s not a great situation. Neihu has another concentration of wealth with a lot of middle managers, but still earn less than those top Hsinchu engineers and the stock.options.

Everyone I know in Hsinchu earns at least 2M+

I realize that not all salaries in Taiwan are good, but they’re not all bad either. Sounds similar to a lot of other countries…

Taiwan is insanely cheaper than western europe or korea. You will make just a tad less than korea but food and housing is way cheaper here. On a GDP PPP per capita basis Taiwan will be richer than germany by the end of 2018. Also income equality is better in Taiwan than most other advanced economies. While, strictly from a financial viewpoint, it might not be that good an idea if you intend to move back but it goes toe to toe with the best (exlcluding super-outliers like Switzerland) if you intend to stay. This means that it may be not as appealing to people from rich countries but a lot of highly skilled professionals around the world come from poorer countries like China, India and Vietnam.

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