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Taiwan's Gold Card scheme


The ECCT's Human Resources and Better Living committees jointly hosted a lunch to get an update on recent amendments to eligibility requirements, benefits and procedures to apply for Taiwan's Employment Gold Card. The event featured presentations by Lin Gyh-mei, Director-General of the National Development Council's (NDC) Department of Human Resources and Jonathan Liao, Director of the Taiwan Employment Gold Card Office.


In her presentation, Lin Gyh-mei gave an update on the status and achievements of the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals (Recruitment Act) since it was introduced, and the main points of the amendments made in 2021.


The Recruitment Act enabled, among other things, the launch in 2018 of the Taiwan Employment Gold Card, a 4-in-1 card, that includes a resident visa, work permit, Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), and re-entry permit, which allows holders to leave and re-enter Taiwan multiple times. The card also offers tax and other benefits.


According to Lin, since the Gold Card was launched in 2018 and up until the end of February 2022, 3,898 Employment Gold Cards have been issued. In addition, the number of foreign professional work permits issued since 2017 has increased by 46% to 45,300 in 2021. There are nine “fields” recognised by the Gold Card scheme: economy (which accounts for 59.3% of Gold Cards issued, by far the largest share), followed by science and technology (16.9% of cards issued), finance (8.3%), culture & arts (7.5), education (7.1%), architectural design (0.6%), law (0.2%), sport (0.1%) and national defence (this field was just opened in December 2021 and just one card has been issued in the field so far).


Broken down by country or territory, the largest share of Gold Cards has been issued to candidates from the United States (33%), followed by Hong Kong (16%), the UK (6%), Japan (6%), Canada (5%), Germany (4%) and France (3%). In addition to Gold Cards, authorities in Taiwan have issued over 2,000 work permits to special foreign professionals, 151 to freelance artists, and 51 to adult children of Gold Card holders.


The Recruitment Act was amended in 2021 to increase the scope of foreign professionals eligible to apply for a Gold Card, improve the social and tax benefits and relax the requirements for visa applications. Among the amendments to the act, which took effect on 25 October, are increasing flexibility for the recognition of foreign special professionals: A provision was added for a mechanism to enable recognition by the Competent Authority (the NDC) in consultation with the central competent authorities concerned, so that the world's new forms of industry and cross-field talent can be brought within the sweep of recruitment.


In addition, the eligibility for graduates of the world's top universities, as announced by the Ministry of Education, to engage in specialized or technical work in Taiwan, was relaxed by the removal of the two years' work experience requirement. The act also shortened the period of continuous residence in Taiwan required for foreign special professionals to apply for permanent residency from five years to three, which is further shortened by one year for those who have obtained a doctoral degree in Taiwan. In addition, the time limit on the tax preference for foreign special professionals was extended from three years to five; and foreign special and senior professionals who are employers or self-employed business owners, together with their dependent relatives, are now exempted from having to wait six months to join the National Health Insurance system.


In addition, a cross-government “Settle Down in Taiwan” programme was launched to help talent from overseas get settled in Taiwan by assisting them to solve problems they encounter in adapting to local life, such as help with their children's education, banking and leasing a house, as well as connecting with local industries, setting up a company, or other aspects of relocating to Taiwan. 


In his presentation Jonathan Liao gave an introduction to the Gold Card application process and the role his office plays in promoting the Gold Card and assisting applicants to apply for one.


The NDC established the Gold Card Office in 2020 to serve as a single point of contact for the recruitment and assistance of foreign professionals working in Taiwan. The office offers a single contact window for questions about the Gold Card programme and its application


process, an official Gold Card website, recruitment of global talent and potential applicants, international marketing and promotion and organises Gold Card community events.

Liao noted that the Gold Card offers holders flexibility in how they can work and the ability to apply for residence status for their family members. In addition, parents and grandparents of holders can apply for visitor visas for up to one year.


On the nine fields open to applicants, Liao noted that it was important to apply in the appropriate field (based on how the government classifies companies and workers) and to provide the required supporting documents. Qualification criteria vary depending on the field. He went on to list the criteria as well as the steps in the application process. The application portal is managed by the National Immigration Agency.  


He noted that while the process aims to be simple and easy to complete, it can become stuck if applicants do not provide the required information. If applicants do not submit sufficient supporting documents, such as missing documents, unclear information, or the authorities require more information about their qualifications, they will be requested to submit additional documents for review, asked to change field, or be rejected. If there are additional documents needed, the process could take up to a month to review. If the applicant does not submit the required supplementary documents within six months, their application will be rejected by the Workforce Development Agency, although they can reapply.


If an applicant cannot be placed in one of the nine fields, but does meet the conditions for recognition as possessing special expertise, then their application may be submitted for a Special Case Review.