Once lauded as a safe haven and refuge from the Covid-19 pandemic, Taiwan became increasingly isolated in late 2021 as strict prevention and quarantine methods protected the country from the Delta variant. However, since case counts began to spike in April due to the Omicron variant, Taiwan has firmly moved from its successful prevention model to one of co-existence. These recent changes indicate that Taiwan is prepared to rejoin the global competition for talent this year.
The talent wars have already begun, with many harking the Great Migration in the aftermath of the post-Covid pandemic, driven by the tech boom and ever-increasing need for more electronic products. Anchored by TSMC, five tech powerhouses in Taiwan recently announced job opportunities totaling 14,500 in the semiconductor and hardware manufacturing sector.
Adding in software giants Google and Microsoft, who have recently set up data centres in Taiwan along with their other business units, over 1,000 listings are shown on Linkedin. However, with one of the world’s lowest birth rates and an ageing population, Taiwan will not be able to fulfill these openings by itself, and so a significant portion must instead come from migrating overseas talent.
In an annual August survey, the National Development Council of Taiwan (NDC) noted that the general shortfall of employment in 2021 increased to 248,000, with a gap of 47,000 at the executive levels. To address this shortfall, the NDC recently announced a recruitment initiative to attract 100,000 foreign talents to the island by 2030. NDC is also actively improving work and residency regulations, beginning with adjustments to the 2018 Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals, which features the Taiwan Employment Gold Card program, a successful resident-work visa offering that has served as a beacon for interested expats to Taiwan.
Qualifications for the Employment Gold Card have recently been relaxed, in particular the Field of Education which now accepts doctoral graduates from the top 500 universities around the world (according to QS World University Rankings or the US News & World Rankings). A ninth Field of National Defense was added to the other fields of Economy, Culture & Arts, Finance, Science & Technology, Law, Architecture, Sports, and Education.
Besides providing a flexible and open visa for up to 3 years, the Employment Gold Card also fastracks to permanent residency, with recent changes shortening the requirements from five years to three years. These changes have helped the Gold Card program add 1,982 cards in 2021 alone, for a total of 4,248 in just four years.
A recent report from HR service provider Randstad predicts that by 2025, up to 70% of workers will be working in a contract, temporary, consultant, or freelance capacity, a significant move from traditional full-time employment to gig economy. The Gold Card supports this trend as it does not require applicants to have a job contract beforehand or throughout, but instead allows the card holder to come to Taiwan to investigate different opportunities, freelance, or even start their own business.
However, even if applicants do not qualify for the gold card, many other work visa options and opportunities are available, especially while employers are increasingly looking to attract new talent prospects from abroad. Taiwan certainly has a lot to offer, which is why it has ranked as the No. 1 destination in InterNations Expat Insider survey for three years in a row.
It is expected that in the coming weeks, even as Covid-19 cases peak, Taiwan will not be shutting down and instead, will be opening up. On April 27th, the CDC officially announced the end of a local government contact tracing program, and on May 3rd, shortened the quarantine measures for incoming travelers from 10 days to 7 days. It is expected that regulations will continue to be relaxed, allowing for more talent migration to Taiwan this year.
The Taiwan Employment Gold Card is a flexible work permit, targeted high-end talents, launched in 2018. It is a 4-in-1 card, that includes a resident visa, work permit, Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), and re-entry permit, which allows you to leave and re-enter Taiwan multiple times over the course of 1-3 years. Applicants can apply online without sponsorship.