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Training, recruitment of key talent crucial to industrial development

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After a briefing at Thursday's Cabinet meeting from the National Development Council (NDC) on its strategy to cultivate and recruit key talent, Premier Su Tseng-chang said that the government had already achieved some preliminary success with recruitment and retention since the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals took effect. He noted that the International Institute for Management Development's World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2020 released in early October gave Taiwan its highest ranking yet, up two spots from last year.

Ministries and agencies were directed to aid each other in ongoing efforts to refine laws and regulations concerning recruitment. The premier said that all ministries and agencies must work together to execute the government's three major talent development strategies—nurturing homegrown digital skills, recruiting key global professionals and enhancing bilingual skills—in order to ensure that Taiwan has the skilled workforce that will drive industrial growth and promote economic advancement.

Chasing the lowest costs will no longer be such an important objective of global industrial supply chains in the turbulent post-pandemic era, said Premier Su. Instead, international enterprises will place even greater value in a safe and clean supply chain. Taiwan's openness, transparency, democratic rule of law, and cybersecurity environment all line up well with the world's expectations of a trusted supply chain partner, said the premier.

In her 2020 National Day address, President Tsai Ing-wen spoke of a desire to make Taiwan a hub for international capital, talent and digital technology. For the nation to make such a transformation, whether into a high-end manufacturing hub or a research and development center for Asia, then it must continue to actively cultivate and recruit skilled professionals from both at home and abroad, said Premier Su.

The Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals has already yielded promising results since its enactment in February 2018. The Employment Gold Card system, for instance, has successfully brought high-caliber talent to Taiwan to work in key industries. More than 1,300 gold cards have been issued to date, including 826 during the first nine months of this year. In terms of foreign professional recruitment efforts, Taiwan issued 37,000 employment permits during the first eight months of 2020, already close to 10 percent higher than the 33,000 permits issued in all of 2019. Also, 46.6 percent of overseas Chinese and foreign students that graduated from local schools received approval to remain in Taiwan for work, many of them entering jobs as specialists, scientists, technicians and in manufacturing services. This group is providing a much-needed injection of talent into domestic industries, the premier said.

According to the NDC, the strategy to nurture local digital talent consists of expanding the cultivation capabilities of higher education institutions, promoting industrial-academic cooperation on talent development, and encouraging businesses to invest in human resources.

Under the strategy to recruit key talent from abroad, the government will promote special-case recruitment measures, focus on recruiting the world's top digital talent, and attract more students from New Southbound Policy nations and other countries to Taiwan to study in important fields. Measures are also being taken to ease work, residency and other restrictions while improving taxation and social protections for foreigners, the council said.

As for the strategy to strengthen language abilities and expand international perspectives, efforts are being made in conjunction with the bilingual Taiwan policy to improve people's English abilities and cultivate the English-speaking professionals needed in specialized fields, the NDC said.

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