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Employment gold cards issued to foreign nationals rise nearly 80%
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Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Taiwan issued 240 employment gold cards to foreign professionals in the first five months of this year, an increase of 77.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Development Council (NDC) Tuesday.

The increase is mainly due to the effectiveness of the government's policy to attract highly-skilled foreign talent and because Taiwan's success in the battle against COVID-19 has enhanced the country's international visibility, NDC deputy chief Kao Shien-quey (高仙桂) said during a policy briefing.

After the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent took effect on Feb. 8, 2018, the number of gold cards issued to foreign professionals rose from 188 in 2018 to 353 in 2019 and 240 from January to May 2020, Kao said.

As of the end of May, the NDC had issued 781 gold cards based on the provisions of the act, which relaxes Taiwan's regulations on visas, work permits, taxes, insurance, pensions and residency for foreign professionals and their families.

This makes the work environment more friendly and encourages more foreign professionals to work in Taiwan, according to Kao.

Under the act, the employment gold card is a four-in-one card that is simultaneously a work permit, residence visa, alien resident certificate and re-entry permit.

The card makes it easier for foreign nationals to transfer work or seek, land and change jobs in Taiwan and the validity of such work permits has been expanded from three to five years, according to the NDC.

Touting Taiwan's globally-acclaimed living and working environment, Kao said Taipei was ranked the best place to live and work for expatriates in 2019, according to the results of an annual survey on 82 cities around the world published by the expat networking website InterNations .

Despite Taiwan's high taxes and low salaries, its sound National Health Insurance program and orderly society as well as its diverse culture and society make it attractive to foreign professionals, Kao added.

Among those who have received employment gold cards are heavyweight entrepreneurs, including YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, Silicon Valley angel investor Jameson Hsu, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, according to the NDC.

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