18 November 2017
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  • » 11/13/2017, 12.54

    TAIWAN

    Taipei seeking Southeast Asian migrants to meet labour needs



    The economy is in a phase of stagnation with an annual growth of 0.6 per cent. Some 233,000 workers are required in various industries. The country must attract young foreigners and skilled labour to keep pace with developed economies and increase productivity. Diplomatic isolation, a low birth rate and an aging population are major challenges for the national economy.

    Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Taiwan must become a friendlier country to migrant workers from Southeast Asia to meet serious labour shortages of more than 200,000 workers in various industries, this according to Taiwanese Prime Minister William Lai Ching-te.

    Lin Wan-I, an academic and minister without portfolio in the Taiwanese cabinet (Executive Yuan), said the government should look at attracting and retaining talented people from countries that benefit from the New Southbound Policy to become Taiwan nationals.

    In order to keep pace with other modern developed economies, Taiwan should attract young foreigners and skilled workers to live in the island nation to boost its labour productivity.

    Lin suggested that the government entice students from Southeast Asian countries to pursue technical or higher education, so that they will be equipped with the necessary skills that various industries want.

    By training young people, the hope is that they will stay and work in Taiwan and eventually become permanent residents.

    For Lin, better labour rights should also be given to foreign domestic caregivers, who were becoming an important human asset for Taiwan, given that quite a large number of them are willing to work and spend many years doing that work – up to the 14-year upper limit.

    According to Ministry of Labour statistics, at the end of February 2017, 233,000 workers were needed by various industries in Taiwan.

    About 88,000 people were needed in manufacturing, including 18,706 workers required in plants making electronic parts. Plus, there were over 43,000 vacancies in retail and wholesale businesses.

    Taiwan's economy is the world's 19th largest in terms of purchasing power. It is considered an advanced economy by the International Monetary Fund and tops the global entrepreneurial index in Asia.

    Despite being ranked Asia’s fifth largest economy and its apparent good health, the island’s economy is currently in a phase of stagnation, with annual growth of 0.6 per cent.

    In the recent past, exports, driven by electronics, machinery and petrochemical production, have been the primary impetus for economic development. However, this heavy dependence on exports has exposed the economy to fluctuations in world demand.

    Taiwan's diplomatic isolation, low birth rate and rapidly aging population are other major long-term challenges.

    The total fertility rate, just over one child per woman, is among the lowest in the world. This aggravates the prospect of future shortages, a decline in domestic demand and a fall in tax revenues.

    As Taiwan's population ages rapidly, it is expected that the number of people over 65 will reach 20 per cent of the total population by 2025.

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