Monday, July 03, 2006

Gov't urged to allow more foreign workers

2006/7/2The China Post staff

The government should ease restrictions on the import of foreign unskilled laborers and high-level managerial personnel to ease the shortage of both types of labor in Taiwan, a local business leaders urged yesterday.

Gary Wang, chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China, issued the call during a panel meeting of the national economic conference on sustainable growth held by the Executive Yuan.
Wang suggested that the government amend its policies and regulations to facilitate entry of more unskilled workers and white-collar management professionals from abroad to meet domestic demand.

Wang said that basic monthly wage for foreign unskilled laborers should be de-pegged from those granted to local laborers and that the government should provide more attractive incentives to lure talented foreign students to study and work in Taiwan. In addition, the government should also ease current rules on immigrants with investment projects, he proposed.

According to estimates made by the Cabinet-level Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), Taiwan will need an extra 300,000 blue-collar workers and some 50,000 high-ranking managers by 2015.

CLA officials said that the government would thoroughly review its foreign labor policies, and would adjust its job training directions and offer tax incentives to encourage local enterprises to boost their on-the-job training programs, in addition to introducing suitable foreign labor.

On the same occasion, Education Minister Tu Cheng-sheng also noted that his ministry is gearing up the cooperation between high-level education schools and local industries to cultivate more professional personnel needed by the industries.

At another panel meeting, scholars were divided in their opinions concerning whether the proposed eight naphtha cracking plant and big steel plant should be built or not.

Some said Taiwan is no longer suitable for developing high-energy consumption industries, such as steel refining and petrochemical manufacturing, but some opined that the government should apply high-tech methods to solve the environmental protection issues concerning the two major projects, valued at around NT$538 billion.

In response, Economics Minister Huang Ying-san said that the two projects will be up for further discussion at the national economic conference on sustainable growth.