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June, 29, 2016

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Gov't offers incentives to woo foreign professionals

Over 1,000 foreign professionals living and working in Taiwan will immediately benefit from a series of government incentives designed lure greater numbers of high-end white-collar workers to stay in the country, a government official said yesterday.

Thomas M. F. Yeh, vice chairman of the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), noted that 1,032 foreign managers and high-tech workers will immediately become beneficiaries of the new measures, which were approved by the Executive Yuan at its weekly meeting earlier yesterday.

The incentives include a wide range of tax reductions, lowered thresholds on residency permits, and relaxed employment conditions for high-class foreign professionals together with benefits targeting professionals' spouses and children.

The expenses of traveling, relocation, telephone fees and even house cleaning can be deducted from their taxable income.

In addition, the government will also help Taipei American School with land lots needed to expand its campus, and will reduce the land rental payable by the Taipei European School to only 0.4 percent of government-assessed land prices, the same level as applied to Taipei American School.

Foreign professionals are defined as those who are invited to work in Taiwan under Ministry of Economic Affairs operated special programs for hiring overseas talent in technology and science, and the high-tech talent employment policy of the National Science Council, as well as those who are invited to assist in the government's national economic development plans, according to the CEPD.

The CEPD began to review existing regulations governing the employment of foreign professionals after the European Chamber of Commerce in Taipei expressed its opinion in March that high taxation levels have affected the willingness of professionals to live and work in Taiwan.

Taiwan employs a progressive individual income tax rate of up to 40 percent.

Meanwhile, when approving the incentive program at the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday morning, Premier Chang Chun-hsung described the passage of the program as "important" and "imperative," as foreign professionals in Taiwan bring with them new knowledge and innovative technologies that are important elements in the country's economic development.

Chang added that there will be some 34,000 openings in the following three years in Taiwan's six major high-tech sectors: semiconductor, video and image, telecommunications, digital content, biotechnology and information technological services. The government believes that there will not be enough locally-trained professionals to fill those openings.

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