The Executive Yuan government office in Taiwan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Kamakura
The Executive Yuan government office in Taiwan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Kamakura

Amid a severe labor shortage of more than 200,000 workers required in various industries, Taiwanese Premier William Lai Ching-te said on Friday the government would have to reassess how to become a country that is more friendly toward migrant workers from Southeast Asia.

Lin Wan-i – an academic and minister without portfolio under the 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, Commercial Times reported.

As for immigration population growth, Lin said that Taiwan largely depended on marriages and family reunions, but that was not an effective way of recruiting talented people.

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

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

By nurturing youngsters, it was hoped that they could stay and work in Taiwan and eventually become permanent residents.

Better labor rights should also be given to foreign domestic caregivers, who were becoming important human assets 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 statistics Ministry of Labor 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 unfilled in retail and wholesale businesses.

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