Case Study: The other side of Taiwan Gold Card is not rose gold

Taiwan Gold Card holders are able to cut the line for applying for a permanent residency to three or even two consecutive years of stay, according to the Taiwan Employment Gold Card Office.

“Although the new laws have been officially announced, the respective ministries are still working on the relevant sub-laws and implementation practices. The new laws will be in effect earliest October 2021,” https://goldcard.nat.gov.tw/en/tags/aprc/ said.

Gold Card holders who could get the Taiwan permanent resident status (APRC) in two years are those who have their PhDs from a Taiwan’s university, for example, while the rule for those who could get an APRC after three years is aligned with the expiration of a Gold Card.

The government has already announced its plan to lower the current requirement of five years of continued stay and work to three years for ARC holders. There hasn’t been an implementing guideline.

A website organized by Gold Card Holders indicates that in order to qualify for an Employment Gold Card your skills must be related to one of eight areas: Science and Technology, Economics, Education, Culture and Art, Sport, Finance, Law and Architecture.

For example, you must be a very talented scientist, or a well published author.

The website also highlighted that one does not need to have a high salary to apply for a Gold Card. “Some industries have a category where applicants with a salary greater than NT$160,000 qualify. However, this is only one category. To date, none of the categories other than the dedicated salary category have financial requirements. If you have skills, please consider applying regardless of salary!” it said.

The roadblocks for some Gold Card holders

To balance the scenario, as one of the main reasons for having StartupInTaiwan.com website, we talked to some Gold Card holders to see how they are doing. While some reports claim that most are happy with the life situation in Taiwan, we need to share how others feel.

To begin, one  source said  the program is a first step in attracting foreign talents but the government and private companies haven’t done enough to keep foreigners here that don’t speak native level Chinese and aren’t software or hardware engineers.

“I think if I had to summarize it, there’s very very (sic) few career opportunities unless you speak native level Chinese, work in software/hardware, or start your own business in which case the language barrier applies,” said a Gold Card holder who left in the middle of the COVID19 second wave in Taiwan.

Language barrier

“I speak better Chinese than most foreigners but I’m still far from being advanced. Google doesn’t have any roles for only English speakers when I’ve checked. They did previously but it’s before I had a gold card and they didn’t want to sponsor me,” the Gold Card holder said.

“I think if I were a technical person it would be better [in terms of job hunting] but still quite limited based on language skills,” he said.

Low pay for a high-caliber talent

The other concern is the pay scale. “If you earn NTD 160,000 from America or Switzerland etc., that’s fair enough you will get a Gold Card. But can you do that in Taiwan… that’s the real question,” another Gold Card holder said.

“Companies should be encouraged to hire folks without native Chinese. The problem then becomes a matter of wages. Wages are very low compared to where most gold card holders came from,” one source said.

He explained that English teachers make a lot more than locals and that’s “not fair but market forces are at play.” “Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any high paying jobs outside of tech for someone who is in business but not a senior executive,” he added.

Private companies are not that open yet

It seemed like the government opened doors for highly-talented people but there are not many jobs for them because the private companies don’t have openings for them.

“It is surprising because many of the companies are headquartered in English-speaking countries. But still their offices here aren’t ready for English employees in the lower and middle ranks. Only a senior executive can be dropped into a leadership role in Taiwan without significant Chinese abilities it seems… I find it very disappointing. I had high hopes to stay here long term but I think there are more limited pathways than advertised,” he said.

From what he has read, the gold card is described as being for professionals with special experience (so this excludes English teachers who never went to college).

“The advantage of a gold card over the ARC is the flexibility to change jobs without the company needing to sponsor your visa. But if there’s no jobs in your industry in the first place that doesn’t really help you unless you’ve got a remote job from outside Taiwan/you’re self-employed/doing a startup,” he said.

For example, he said he doesn’t know a single gold card holder who doesn’t speak advanced Chinese and works in financial services/professional services (banking, business consulting, insurance, investments). This, when Finance is one of the areas of expertise mentioned in the requirements.

“Even those with the language skills, I haven’t met any gold card people in those industries…Tech is great and a very important sector for Taiwan but why is there an economic gold card pipeline and no jobs in the sector?” he said.

He suggested that each approving ministry should be accountable to work with their industry partners to advance job opportunities.

Harder to renew

Those who have an expiring Gold Card could face another challenge, according to another source. “Like an EV [Entrepreneur Visa], you can get it, ok [easily enough]. Though it’s the renewal that really looks into “what did you do in Taiwan [during your 3-year stay]?” he noted.

He further advised to seek more insights from those who managed to get their Gold Card renewed.

EDITOR’s NOTE:

It seems like the Taiwan Gold Card has its best intentions of attracting high-caliber talents but the system needs to include some incentives for companies to hire them. At the moment the card is functioning like an Entrepreneur Visa with lower requirement. We read on Gold Card holders website that the Gold Card fits a nomad, in which case defeating the purpose of creating value within the economy.

Update: there is an additional field being added soon “National Defense” plus relaxations to the sports and education field. Education field insight: Graduating with a PhD from the top 200 universities will be expanded to the top 500.

“This means foreigners graduating from more universities in Taiwan will be able to walk straight into a Gold Card and also have a year knocked off to APRC. So the gov is really opening up more in regards to attaining foreign special professional status and APRC.”

This is not an extensive information about getting a Gold Card, this is to present a different point from what is read on mainstream media. visit this website about getting a Taiwan Gold Card here.

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