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Premier calls for long-term retention of migrant workers to bolster domestic industries


At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a Ministry of Labor (MOL) briefing on a program for long-term retention of migrant workers. In order to quickly supplement the workforce required for specific Taiwanese industries, migrant workers who have held a job for at least six years in Taiwan, as well as foreign and overseas compatriot students who have received education in Taiwan, will become able to stay in Taiwan long-term. This proposal weighs the needs of Taiwan's industries and active recruitment of talent from foreign countries, while still ensuring job opportunities for Taiwanese workers. The premier hopes the program will officially launch by the end of April.

Taiwan has been opening its doors to migrant workers for almost 30 years to meet its economic needs and together build the nation, the premier said. The population of migrant workers in Taiwan has risen to nearly 700,000 people over the last 30 years, becoming an essential part of our production force. Many migrant workers have furthermore become mid-level skilled workers. The premier expressed his deep gratitude and recognition for the contributions of migrant workers.

It is not easy to cultivate mid and senior-level talent these days, the premier continued. The government must work hard to train high-level talent while also retaining workers of every type, including mid-level migrant workers. The whole world, in fact, is recruiting talent, with countries like Japan, South Korea and Singapore offering a variety of attractive working conditions. In the past, Taiwan has been limited by our own laws that require migrant workers to leave the country after working a certain number of years; in effect, we have been training workers and sending them to other countries. Separately, many foreign students have traveled from afar to learn and gain experience in Taiwan, and they have come to identify deeply with Taiwan and are familiar with our culture and living standards. The government should therefore offer better working terms and raise incentives to retain these types of talent so they can help build and contribute to Taiwan.

The MOL program targets migrant workers who have worked at least six years in Taiwan as well as foreign and overseas compatriot students trained through Taiwan's education system. Certain industries will be open to these people, including manufacturing, construction, agriculture and fishery, caregiving and other important designated industries. The program specifies the salary and technical skills required, and caps the percentage of mid-level personnel at 25% of allocated migrant workers. These measures will increase incentives and add quickly to the workforce needed by industries in a way that ensures enough employment for Taiwanese workers. According to the program's planned retention target, the goal is to have at least 80,000 senior-level migrant workers and 80,000 foreign and overseas compatriot students by 2030.

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