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Returning investors to be allowed to hire extra 15-20% expats: gov't

Officials from different government agencies have worked out a proposal to allow qualified investors and employers hire more foreign blue-collar workers. The companies can also be exempted from paying the monthly vocational stabilization fees for foreign workers they hire for a period of five years.

They reached the consensus at a Cabinet-level coordination meeting late yesterday.

The final decision will have to be made by Premier Sean Chen, while the proposal may be implemented in November at the earliest.

According to the proposal, the current 40-percent limit for foreign workers in local firms will remain unchanged.

But the proposed new investment incentives will include allowing qualified firms to employ an extra 15 percent or 20 percent of laborers from abroad.

Qualified Taiwanese enterprises will include those engaged in making products under their own brands, manufacturers of products that are regarded as high-value items in supply chains, and companies that decide to divert parts of their overseas manufacturing operations back to Taiwan and set up research and development centers or their corporate headquarters on the island.

Terms will also be set with regard to the minimum amount of invested capital by investors who will also be required to complete their investment projects within a certain time frame.

The criteria were drafted mainly by the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD).

CEPD officials said that certain manufacturing companies in Taiwan are still unable to increase production for orders they have received from customers because local workers refuse to work overtime and because firms do not have sufficient foreign workers.

Business and industry leaders have been calling for further relaxation of the restrictions on employing foreign workers who are more willing to work overtime and take up late night shifts.

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