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Rules for hiring foreign labor in pilot zones to be loosened

TAIPEI -- While the rules will be relaxed for hiring foreign white-collar employees in Taiwan's free economic pilot zones, the minimum wage for foreign employees there will not be done away with, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) said yesterday.

The minimum monthly wage for foreign workers in most fields is NT$47,971 (US$1,620), around 2.5 times the current minimum wage for Taiwanese workers of NT$19,047.

“The wages (for foreign white-collars) must reach a certain levelto ensure that those employed are exceptional talents, not regular manpower,” the CLA said, overturning media reports that the restriction would be lifted.

The free economic pilot zones will, however, be exempted from several other rules for hiring foreign workers, including restrictions on work experience.

Foreign desk workers at companies in the zone will not need to have two years of relevant work experience on top of their bachelor's degrees, and companies will not be required to have an annual revenue of NT$10 million to hire them.

The NT$47,971 salary level is low compared with South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, the CLA noted, arguing that removing the standard would “not be helpful” for the recruitment of talented professionals and would affect employment conditions for Taiwan's mid-level workers.

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