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Premier leads meeting to address labor, talent shortages

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Premier Lai Ching-te today called a meeting to discuss business needs for sufficient labor and suitable talent. The meeting produced the following announcements:

I. Sufficient labor

A. Taiwan's unemployment rate in 2016 stood at a fairly low 3.9 percent. The government has already adopted policies aimed at incentivizing greater employment among the young, women and older people. As for what kind of jobs employers are having difficulty filling, the premier directed responsible agencies to investigate the situation in greater detail.

B. The supply of labor is closely tied to salary levels. Noting that the government recently announced a 3 percent raise for the armed forces, teachers and civil servants, Premier Lai called on employers to follow suit and raise wages.

II. Suitable talent

A. The premier tasked the Ministry of Finance with assembling responsible ministries and agencies to research possible tax deductions for investment or separate tax rates for bonuses in order to attract talent.

B. The National Development Council (NDC) was directed to look into the favorability of the nation's laws and regulations for retaining international talent.

C. The NDC was also charged with drafting a report on building a friendly environment for innovation.

D. Premier Lai tasked the Ministry of the Interior and other responsible ministries and agencies with reviewing practical considerations such as visas, employment and residency for people coming to Taiwan from abroad, and making improvements where necessary.

E. Observing that exchanges of talent and personnel with Southeast Asia can aid the development of businesses in Taiwan, the premier directed responsible ministries and agencies to incorporate this concept into programs developed as part of the New Southbound Policy.

F. In light of the importance of artificial intelligence (AI), Premier Lai directed the Ministry of Education and related agencies to determine whether or not Taiwan's education policy will be able to meet the demand for over 10,000 future AI researchers.

G. The government should strengthen incentives to encourage businesses to boost wages and other compensation in order to attract top talent.

Executive Yuan Spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung indicated that once plans to address the five main business needs—including sufficient labor and suitable talent—are finalized, Premier Lai will personally explain the details via press conference to business leaders and the people of Taiwan.

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