TAIPEI - Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) called for cross-ministry co-operation on improvements to retaining and training Southeast Asian workers after the Overseas Community Affairs Council's (OCAC, 僑委會) report to the Cabinet yesterday.
Mao asked OCAC offical Chen Shyh-kwei (陳士魁) to strengthen proposals to increase incentives for foreign workers to stay and work in Taiwan, including giving help to Southeast Asians entering Taiwan's vocational high schools and combining the project with the existing New Resident Policy, Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said.
The OCAC will examine ways to set up an evaluation system for foreigners to enter vocational high schools in Taiwan, as requested by Mao, who wishes to provide more incentives and training to keep students in Taiwan after graduation, providing Taiwan with a source of working-age talent amid a shrinking native working population.
Mao referred to statistics released by the Ministry of Labor this year, which showed that the nation's workforce would shrink by 180,000 people per year due to the aging society.
Mao asked Chen to implement measures that not only keep foreign graduates, but also postgraduates.
Strengthen Ties with Overseas Taiwanese Businesses
Mao stated that through the measures, the government aims to strengthen ties with overseas Taiwanese by providing trained foreign workers with strong Chinese and Southeast Asian language abilities.
Should workers eventually return to their home country, they may in turn choose to work in Taiwanese-owned factories at management level, Mao said.
Asked why the OCAC is concentrating its effort on Southeast Asia, Chen said that "traditionally, many of Taiwan's foreign students originate from Southeast Asian countries, and some of those countries also have many Taiwanese-owned factories set up there."
Mao also called for improvements in educating local businesses about the measures for foreign workers.
Evaluation System Doing Well: Chen
Chen presented the results of the evaluation system for foreigners undertaking jobs in Taiwan enacted last year in July, which saw an 80-per cent pass rate, passing 693 out of 852 applicants as of July 3, 2014 to May 31 this year, with the most applications coming from citizens of Malaysia.
Two thousand vacancies were introduced this year, Chen stated, and the government aims to see 44 per cent of foreign workers staying in Taiwan by 2025.
According to Chen, the evaluation system awards points to foreigners applying to stay in Taiwan using such criteria as Chinese-language ability, foreign-language ability, education level, work experience and professional skills.
"It is an alternative option for foreigners who cannot meet the fixed-wage requirements, which require a monthly minimum salary of NT$48,971 (S$2,100)," Chen said.