Taipei City, Taiwan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The number of foreign professionals in Taiwan has been steadily on the rise, reaching 31,000 in 2016, up 15% from 2011, according to the government’s data.

According to the latest report by the Ministry of Labor, the top job category applied for by foreign nationals in 2016 was specialized or technical work, with 18,000 approved applicants, or 57% of the total number of foreign professionals, Economic Daily News reported.

The next two most applied-for job categories were full-time teachers in private tutorial schools and directors or managers of approved businesses invested in or established by overseas Chinese or foreigners. The number of people in the former category reached 4,900 last year, or 15.7% of the total, while the latter figure was 2,500, or 8.2%.

The internationalization of Taiwanese industries is seen as the reason for increasing numbers of specialized or technical workers as well as foreign directors and managers.

The highest number of foreigners employed as specialized or technical workers were from Japan, followed by Malaysians and Americans.

Specialized workers from Malaysia first entered the top three on this list, displacing Canada, in 2012. The main reason for the rising trend of Malaysian specialists is seen as the implementation of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, which attracts young talents to pursue higher education in Taiwan and then stay on after graduating.

More than 8,400 foreigners employed in Taiwan come from the 18 target countries under the New Southbound Policy. The top representative is Malaysia, followed by the Philippines and India.

More than 30% of specialized or technical workers employed in Taiwan belong to the manufacturing sector, while 22% are in the wholesale and retailing sector and 15% in the technical service sector, suggesting that Taiwan’s manufacturing sector still has keen demand for skilled workers from abroad.

More than 93% of foreign professionals reside in Taipei (44%), New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Hsinchu.

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