Foreign Professionals - Visa relaxation policy change

With the recent changes for foreign professionals regarding income tax, i was happy to receive this notice today and thought i would share it as it is nice to see the government here changing some of the policies regarding visas as well.

Below is a quick look at the changes as well as a link to the original notices.

[quote]Firstly, our government has made plans for the issuance of “academic and business travel cards,” “employment VISA cards” and “permanent residency cards” to foreign nationals according to their status and purpose of coming to Taiwan. The academic and business travel cards are intended not only for internationally renowned public figures, but will also be available to those recommended by your chamber as “important business personages.” Persons thus recommended will be allowed to enter and exit Taiwan unlimited times over three years, may stay for up to three months at a time, and will enjoy speedy customs clearance courtesies at the airport.

Secondly, we have mapped out significant changes to work permit rules, to which the business world attaches especial importance. Here we plan to integrate the functions of employment permits, alien resident certificates and re-entry permits, with the issuance of an “employment VISA card.” Foreign nationals holding this card will not need to change visas, and during its three-year term of validity, will be able to enter and leave Taiwan and change employment unlimited times. After they have worked in Taiwan for a full three years, they will be able to apply for permanent residence. Moreover, visa-free or landing-visa entrants coming to work in Taiwan will not need to leave Taiwan to change to a resident visa; and when their contracted term of employment in Taiwan comes to an end, they will be allowed to remain for a grace period of three months to look for new employment or make preparations for leaving the country.

Lastly, on a matter of concern to your chamber for many years, we have also made plans to relax the requirement for foreign-national employees to have two years of work experience, so as to give businesses greater choice and flexibility in personnel recruitment. We also understand that, in the course of their business operations, translational enterprises often need to invite overseas specialists to come to Taiwan for short periods to provide specialized services. Therefore, to cater to the practical needs of business operation, the period of stay for foreign nationals who come to Taiwan to fulfil a commitment, deliver a lecture, or other such short-term activities, will be extended to 30 days, and will be exempt from requirement to apply for a work permit. And regarding foreign professionals bringing their children to Taiwan as dependents, although age limits for this are still commonplace internationally, in consideration of the needs of family feelings and enabling families to stay together, we are also planning to cancel the upper age limit for unmarried children to come to Taiwan as dependents.

For the official Chinese press release, http://www.cepd.gov.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0010111.

行政院財經小組今日開會決議將大幅放寬國際專業人士入出我國之限制

為吸引國際高階專業人士來台,提高我國國際競爭力,行政院財經小組第35次會議今(16)日通過經建會提出之「吸引外籍優秀人才來台措施」,簡化現行國際重量級或高階專業人士來台需申辦之工作許可、簽證及居留等各類繁複的申請作業,並放寬相關措施,加強建立友善環境,預期將有利於提高外籍優秀人才來台工作及交流之意願。

經建會日前邀集相關部會協商,參考先進國家及我國鄰近國家相關制度,如美國之「綠卡」、歐盟之「藍卡」、南韓之「IT Card」、「Gold Card」、「Science Card」等三卡、新加坡之「個人化就業簽證」、「企業家社交探親簽證」、「商業入境簽證」等制度,並結合我國現有相關措施,對來台之國際重量級人士、高階專業人才及來台投資企業家,研議核發予「學術及商務旅遊卡」、「就業VISA卡」及「永久居留卡」等三卡,以及相關放寬措施,提報今(16)日行政院財經小組討論通過,重要決議如下:

一、核發「學術及商務旅行卡」
目前我國除外交考量提供之禮遇簽證外,對於國際重量級人士來台演講或技術指導,通常核發單次停留簽證,且停留期間若超過14日,必須向勞委會申請工作許可,對此,若干國際重量級人士或外國在台商會表示困擾。今日會議決議,針對下列「非以工作為主要入國目的」之國際重量級人士,核發「學術及商務旅行卡」,效期3年,不限次數往返我國,每次停留期限可達3個月,由1號專用通關道快速辦理簽證及通關作業:
1、國際公認比賽、競技、評鑑之首獎者(如諾貝爾獎)或具 國際聲望,經各目的事業主管機關認定者。
2、在台外國商會建議符合一定資格之重要商務人士。
3、對我國經濟發展有特殊貢獻且經專案核准之商務人士。

二、核發「就業VISA卡」
針對經政府部門「專案延攬」或「補助」引進,「以工作為主要入國目的」之外籍高階專業人士,予以核發「就業VISA卡」。該卡將結合就業許可函、外僑居留證及重入國許可等三種准證,取代傳統簽證,有效期限3年,不限次數往返我國;有效居留期間,可自由轉換工作,無須換證;期滿未續聘者,給予延長停留3個月之禮遇,方便於國內尋職及再就業;連續應聘工作滿3年者另得申請「永久居留」。

三、核發「永久居留卡」
依據96年12月26日公布之「入出國及移民法」,針對專業及投資移民者,研議核發「永久居留卡」,相關申請程序、應備文件、資格條件、核發證件總類、效期、投資標的、資金管理運用及其他應遵行事項,內政部將於本(97)年6月底前將完成訂定相關實施辦法、制訂專業與投資移民跨部會聯席審查機制,設置單一窗口等。

四、其他放寬措施

  1. 延長因履約或演講來台之外籍人士入境停留期間從14日放寬至30日以下之入國簽證,視同「工作許可」,以增加國際交流機會,並滿足其於我國旅遊、探親及其他消費活動等。
  2. 對持免簽證或落地簽證之「已取得工作許可之外國專業人士」,於停留期限屆滿前,放寬得申請轉換居留簽證,避免先離境再入境之不便情形。
  3. 放寬來台投資及專技移民、外(僑)資企業代表及經理人及就業服務法第46條第1項第1款至第7款或第11款工作者,經取得居留或永久居留身份且具一定財力證明者,其未婚子女得來台申請依親居留。
  4. 取消具學士資格之外籍人士准予在台工作之「2年工作經驗限制」。在台留學取得學士及以上學歷資格之外籍畢業生,在台工作薪資得比照本國薪資水準;非在台留學之學士及以上學歷資格之外國籍人士,在台工作仍須受薪資門檻(目前為47,971元)之限制。
  5. 為便利外籍人士申辦各種手續,各機關之申請表格均應提供中英文版備用,並應簡化處理流程。
    經建會表示,為提升我國國際競爭力,積極吸引國際優秀人才在台(含來台及留台)工作,增加我國國際交流機會及外國人才來台意願,已刻不容緩。針對前述提高國際優秀人才來台之工作准證、入出國簽證及居留等各項建議措施,行政院邱副院長指示相關部門應儘速研議配套措施,以期早日實施。 [/quote]

Thanks for sharing that, Traveller.

TM, posted it even though i suspect that for the majority of forumosans i.e. the english teaching brigade, this will have little impact, but who knows, it might just get carried over as well. Certainly for those of us working as professionals and not married to locals or with APRC’s, then this does make quite a change, particularly when bearing in mind it is changing the mindset of local government.

If this is truly for real then hats off to the powers that be…

Any idea when all this will be in place?

Unfortunately, for me, its perhaps a little late in coming …

Item 4 is super important to the English teaching brigade:

  1. 取消具學士資格之外籍人士准予在台工作之「2年工作經驗限制」。在台留學取得學士及以上學歷資格之外籍畢業生,在台工作薪資得比照本國薪資水準;非在台留學之學士及以上學歷資格之外國籍人士,在台工作仍須受薪資門檻(目前為47,971元)之限制。

Here’s a summary:

The two year work experience requirement for foreigners with a BA is canceled. Foreign graduates of Taiwanese universities are subject to the same minimum salary requirement as Taiwanese nationals (i.e. the mininimum wage c. NT$16,000) while foreign graduates of foreign universities remain subject to the minimum salary of NT$47,971.

That’s huge because it means that foreign teachers holding a BA with no work experience can now easily change fields if they get tired of teaching. It’s also a big deal for the many teachers out there who still do not have BAs and are teaching illegal. They can find a Taiwanese uni, study (and teach on the side) and end up with a four year degree allowing them to teach or work legally.

AND anyone with a Taiwanese BA (or MA, I suppose) can now get a far greater variety of jobs. It’s much, much easier to find a Taiwanese employer willing to fork out NT$16,000 a month than the higher figure. Health insurance costs based on 16K are also much lower.

Folks, for those that may not be aware most of the various Chambers of Commerce in Taipei have been lobbying the government for these sort of changes for some period of time. Whilst these are mainly aimed at professionals, as they are employed by the companies that make up most of the membership of the chambers, if Feiren’s synopsis is correct and maybe even the teaching brigade are going to benefit, then so much the better.

Whilst it is accurate to say that normally the work of most of the Chambers is for business benefit, there are times when the work spills over and this may be such a time, I would ask all readers that are not members of their relevant chamber to consider joining, the more voices heard maybe other items can be changed as well.

The US and European chambers I know are not cheap, with the British chamber only being a little better, but the Aus/NZ chamber as well as the Canadian chamber are pretty cheap to join. For others such as the French Society then I don’t know as I have no involvement with them. We can all do our bit to help push more changes like this through by supporting the various chambers.

[quote=“Roach”]If this is truly for real then hats off to the powers that be…

Any idea when all this will be in place?

Unfortunately, for me, its perhaps a little late in coming …[/quote]

Roach, not sure of timing, would guess sometime after the new Government takes office, but the info come directly from the chairperson of the Executive Yuan’s Council for Economic Planning and Development in an official letter.

It’s not April 1. What’s going on?

It’s called forward movement after time spent lobbying.

How’s that Asia Pacific Regional Operations Centre thing coming along?

I think the APROC Plan is more than likely to be reincarnated under the new administration, since it was Siew’s pet project when he headed the CEPD a decade and a half ago.

Really sounds too good to be true. Thus I have some suspicion that eligibility may be very limited.

Any idea who qualifies for the “employment VISA card”? I saw a different translation of the Chinese (some things NEVER change), which reads like this:

‘Next, high-level foreign professionals who come to Taiwan primarily for purposes of employment under government special recruitment or subsidy programs will be granted “Employment Visa Cards” instead of the original work permit letters, alien resident certificates, and re-entry permits. These cards will allow foreigners to enter Taiwan, and to switch jobs in Taiwan, multiple times within a three-year period. Those whose employment is not extended when their three-year term has expired will be given an extra three-month grace period to find other jobs, and those who are employed continuously for three years will be allowed to apply for an “Alien Permanent Resident Certificate.”’

I wonder if translators are considered “high-level foreign professionals”? Does anyone out there have actual first-hand experience with this new system? Sure would be nice to know that the ROC government really has made a positive change in this area.

When is this expected to kick in?
Any more info about this would be really great.

According to CENS, it starts today:

[quote]Government to allow investment immigration to Taiwan
07/30/2008 (CENS)

To solicit foreign capital and talent to Taiwan, the government has decided to allow foreigners investing over NT$30 million in Taiwan to apply for permanent residence certificate, while lowering the minimum service years for foreign white-collar workers to apply for the certificate to five years, down from seven years now. Both measures will be effective on August 1.

In the former case, the so-called investment immigration, the money must be invested in profit-seeking businesses with employment of over five local people for at least three years; it can also be deposited at government-designated financial institutions for five years or longer. In either case, the spouse and children before the age of majority can also apply for permanent residence certificate, said the National Immigration Agency, the Ministry of Interior.

In the latter case, white-collar foreign workers aged over 20 can apply for permanent residence certificate after having worked in Taiwan for five years and over 183 days each year, compared with the existing requirement of seven years now, according to the National Immigration Agency.

Wang Chuan-hung, chairman of the Immigration Business Association, however, believed that the capital threshold for the investment immigration is rather high, compared with the capital requirement of US$500,000 (NT$15 million) for investment immigration in the U.S. and HK$6.5 million (NT$27 million) in Hong Kong. He noted that potential foreign immigrants to Taiwan are Chinese people in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian nations.[/quote]

http://cens.com//cens/html/en/news/news_inner_24159.html

Well, that only seems to be part of it, and NT$30 million is a lot of cash…
What happened to the employment VISA cards as there was no mention about that in the article you linked to, as I think most of us are interested in that part.

I phoned up the immigration department in Jiayi yesterday. They knew nothing whatsoever about an “employment VISA card.”

Maybe that is what they are calling the permits for academics who come here less than 6 months? Now they do not need any work visas for that.

Actually, there is a revamping of the visa process, categories, legislation, the works, in motion, but it will take a bit of time to get across all the hurdles. Just keep an eye out, they’ll publish the stuff when it’s done. In the meantime, let’s be patient and bear with uninformed immigration/police officials.

hey guys, i’m not overly familiar with the visa application process, but i’m pretty sure they’ve changed it. I got here 3 months ago and had previously worked for an IT company in Australia that sold taiwanese IT products. I went to computex and landed a sales job with a different taiwanese IT company but same field and started almost immediately. When I arrived I had a 30-day landing visa so had to leave mid-june and then again in mid-july. At the end of July my employer applied for the work permit and it came through 2 weeks later. On the 5th of August I handed over my passport, visa application form and ARC application form along with 2 kinds of photos. Bearing in mind my landing visa expired today i got the passport back yesterday. It had a 60 day visitor visa in it stamped “USED” dated August 8 and a resident visa stamped “USED” dated August 11. They said that later this week the ARC card comes through with a certificate so that when i leave the country I show the certificate and they let me back in. As far as i know i don’t have to leave the country to go to HKG or anything, its all been totally hassle free with my employer taking care of it all.
And another thing - for the work permit I had to hand over a copy of my degree. I was doing it part time and only graduated in April, however I have about 7 years work experience, all referenced in employment letters that were attached. There was no “you need to work for 2 years after graduating” business. I think my employer might have put together a good case though. Since i’m now in charge of selling their specialist IT gear back into oz they need a foreigner who has knowledge of the market - so i got the job.
Anyway its a big relief and no hassles, not sure if its the same for english teachers though. Will post again when i recieve the ARC / certificate they were talking about. Hope this sheds some light on the issue.

Well, you didn’t say which company it was you work for, but normally the bigger IT companies here get what they want quite easily as the Government isn’t that stupid even here. Work experience counts as well and as you have over 7 years, then that is as good as having a degree mind you.