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September 21, 2017

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Low pay key to Taiwan's brain drain: CLA

TAIPEI--Low salaries are the main reason that Taiwan has failed to retain local talent and attract foreign skilled workers, Deputy Minister of the Council of Labor Affairs Pan Shih-wei said.

Pan made the remarks in response to a comment by Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who recently singled Taiwan out as a country facing a serious brain drain.

The problem is compounded by Taiwan's restrictions on foreigners who might like to work in Taiwan and the low pay offered to skilled Taiwanese workers.

According to the current restrictions, foreign nationals seeking jobs in Taiwan are required to have at least two year's of work experience outside Taiwan at Bachelor's degree level and must be paid a minimum monthly salary of NT$47,900 (US$1,622), Pan said.

Although the regulations in Taiwan are relatively flexible compared with some other countries in the region, it is still necessary to ease some of the restrictions and offer more competitive packages if Taiwan wants to attract foreign workers, Pan said.

For example, Pan said, Taiwan would like to see NBA sensation Jeremy Lin to pursue his career here, but this is very unlikely as he could never command the money he earns in the United States, his home country.

Few companies in Taiwan are willing to pay higher incentives to recruit either domestic or foreign talented workers, he said.

Speaking at a conference on the issue, ruling Kuomintang legislators Hsu Yao-chang and Chen Shu-huey encouraged firms to pay up or risk losing their talent, citing a survey showing that Taiwan has led Asia for two consecutive years in terms of creativity.

San Gee, vice minister of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, said that although Taiwan and Singapore have different situations, Taiwan should review its policies on employment.

Injecting foreign capital and skilled workers into Taiwan are important for economic development, San said.

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