Popular youtuber receives gold card -- criticisms, and my thoughts

As many of us have read in the news, well-known American YouTuber Hailey Jane Richards (莫彩曦) has been granted an Employment Gold Card by the Taiwanese government for her promotion of Taiwan through online videos and foreign media. First of all, I am glad to see this happen. It shows that the determination of who deserves the gold card isn’t as restrictive and exclusive as one may have originally imagined, and that Taiwan is recognizing newer forms of young artists (instead of only the ones that have won significant international awards, as the other requirements for the gold card suggest)

However, in another news article, someone accused her of filming videos on a tourist Visa, generating income, and only paying taxes to the US for a period of time.
Since I do not know if there is any truth to that, I am not commenting on her situation or accusing her of anything.
However, this raises a fundamental issue that I think is worth discussing:
If any form of endeavor that resembles work outside of the main job isn’t allowed for people on a work permit, how is a young professional supposed to legally gain experience and credentials while meeting the income threshold in Taiwan if they want to be qualified for the Gold Card one day?
If tourists aren’t allowed to film travel videos and post them on their own channel, doesn’t it make almost all traveling content creators illegal?
Personally, I think it’s absurd to consider that illegal since Youtube revenue is more like a passive income that isn’t taking away local jobs in any way. If one chooses not to pay taxes in Taiwan, I could imagine that part of the reason will likely be that by reporting earnings, they might get caught for “working” while they’re just posting their own videos on their own social media platform, that happens to be monetized. What are they supposed to do? Tell Youtube to stop paying them?

One may argue that the Gold Card is designed to attract highly skilled foreign talent and isn’t meant to be for everyone, however, there is no doubt that a fully legal path to advance one’s career and becoming a highly skilled professional that the government wants is lacking due to the bureaucracy and legal restrictions in place, since you need the experience to be granted a work permit/gold card, yet can’t get experience unless you’re allowed to practice whatever craft legally.

This is a chicken and egg problem, and it seems to come down to luck if one gets busted for taking on projects outside of their teaching jobs and uses it as proof of experience when they apply for other forms of work permit or the gold card.

Taiwan has pretty high standards for what they consider as a highly-skilled professional, however, there are plenty of laws that actively prevent a foreign professional from advancing their careers past being a buxiban teacher.
It’s kinda like the saying “又要馬兒好,又要馬兒不吃草”
I would love to see them open a path for foreigners to legally apply to be freelancers and Youtubers (with a reasonable income requirement or proof that they are legit) so that they can report their earnings without the fear of being caught doing work outside of their jobs.
What is your take on this issue?

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My take is it seems people who are jealous of others feel the need to tear those people down. Here is someone who was successful in her adopted country. And yet some nobody who resented that success felt the need to dig into her past enough to find something that they thought could tear her down. To invest that much time and energy into tearing down a stranger just because you resent their success takes a special kind of loser. This is becoming a huge problem in today’s society… similar to the whole cancel culture stuff. So I hope she overcomes this nobody’s targeted attack and continues to thrive.

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Agree, this is also why I think it’s important for the government to change some of the outdated laws that put foreigners in a such tough position. The argument of protecting local employment falls flat considering that being an YouTuber doesn’t affect local jobs at all. If there isn’t a legal path in place, people will be less incentivized to reveal their earnings and pay their taxes.

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Yes they should have a specific regulation to deal with YouTuber type income and workers. I believe they should be able to report their income and everybody wins.

The gold card is a very easy card to get for most professional working people in developed countries. 160k a month and a little bit or working history, third level education or whatever…

My problem is that Taiwan pats itself on the back with this but then doesn’t allow us to proceed to being local citizens and participate fully in society unless we pass through ridiculous hurdles…All designed to keep us as second class residents here long term.

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Does anyone actually know why did she get the card?

She is not highly skilled in a specialist area, infact its the opposite. She is doing her videos in the style popularized by taiwanese for a taiwanese audience, you could say she is taking away ‘jobs’ from locals. (i’m not saying that, but youtube doesn’t count as a specialised skill you need to import to improve taiwan)

People are saying its a tourism thing (Even though that doesn’t hold up because her audience is taiwanese, her videos are getting sponsored by taiwanese companies for advertising if you doubt this.) and if that’s the case then can any taiwan no.1 youtuber get the card?

Or only the most popular one? Only the good looking blonde girls that give taiwan good mian zi in a news story? I mean she’s obviously bringing in a lot of money and is useful If she got the card on economic factors then fair enough but just be clear so we all know what to aim for.

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Media contents may be in the culture category? I guess she presented herself very well in her application, that is one of skills or talents. Or she could have a contract from a local company?

I like that they are being more flexible about what counts as skills and talent. Regulating that one must win X amount of international awards and earn Y amount of money to qualify is a bit of a straightjacket to me. A-list US celebrities aren’t gonna move to Taiwan for the Gold Card, but young artists will, and they deserve a chance to at least be considered.

But again how to qualify in that? Be the most popular or what?

So, just because you’re YouTube celebrity and have gotten multiple hits on your “Taiwan Up-ah!” posts, you’re entitled to a Gold Card, when people who have been living here for decades, contributing to society and paying taxes aren’t?
Seems a bit odd to me.

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Holy Christ, why are we still talking about this? Are we really that bored? Seems like we’ve all forgotten one of the 10 commandments: “Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbours Gold Card”. You people really need to get something better to worry about, and this all says a lot about the quality of in Taiwan these days.

Here is my highly qualified legal opinion.

  1. Richards isn’t “some Youtuber”. She has a significant following on the channel with over 1 million subscribers. This would put her in the top-25% of YouTubers out there.

  2. Considering this subscriber count there is a huge potential for a soft power play via her channel. MOFA is about to launch Taiwan+, a streaming/OTT service that will effectively be the nation’s state broadcaster (think, a video/linear version of CNA mixed with. I’ll bet you 100 Chiang Kai Shekles that she will be playing some sort of role in this project.

  3. Given the size of her audience there could be an argument made to grant her a gold card under the culture -> broadcasting segment. I know of a few semi-retired broadcasters from Hong Kong that are here running YouTube channels/websites and are using a gold card.

  4. Given the scale of her following it’s quite conceivable her channel is able to generate significant revenue. It’s possible that she also has other freelance work. Considering this, it’s very possible that she incorporated an LLC in the US to remit back income and uses that to pay herself a salary of over $67k which would qualify her for a gold card.

Hey mods, please don’t arbitrarily edit posts when there isn’t an obvious violation of the rules

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Not that it matters.
But just noticed she is LDS.

She was a missionary for the church when she was 19 years old. She was assigned to Taiwan by the church in 2016 and taught Chinese independently in Taiwan.

So she’s done a bit more than just vlogging. Cool to see that after her mission, she returned to Taiwan.

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Other individuals reviewed and validated by the Ministry of Culture.

Her presentation maybe was good enough to be validated.

I don’t see the issue, personally - with respect to the category, wouldn’t 1.2 million YouTube subscribers most likely put her over the 160k TWD income requirement for Economy? (assuming it’s declared).

Until they changed the rules earlier this year, loads of people have successfully received the gold card based on that, despite the fact that they have little chance of earning the same salary in Taiwan. This all seems pretty judgmental/gatekeeping-y.

Soft power aimed at taiwanese ?

Yea if thats how she got it, no problem with me. But it’s been hinted at she got it under arts or special skills or something, which i do think is pretty silly if it’s the case.

She and her husband could have taken the easy route and applied under the Economy category - their online English course has been a hit (They grossed at least NT$24 million just from it):

The fact that they went with the harder category makes me respect them more.

Hailey is freaking awesome.

About a month or two ago I ran into a lady from another Christian denomination who mentioned this. She put on a fireside recently, I believe.

It might be illegal but it’s not like anything will happen.

Sure. What’s the best way to reinforce the government’s narratives? Have a white person say it on a cutsey YouTube video. Chomsky should have written a chapter on it in his book “Manufacturing Consent”.

I started writing this here, but started another thread instead: