Before last year, Taiwan was unable to participate in international affairs due to strong Chinese opposition and suppression; the nation was marginalized in the international community and received little attention.
However, by developing a niche in high-tech manufacturing, Taiwan has transformed itself into a “silicon island” that has in the past few years begun to play a decisive role in the world.
Today, countries are one after the other placing orders with Taiwanese manufacturers or making investments in the nation, as it has become one of their most valued partners.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, Taiwan was expected to become one of the most seriously affected countries due to its frequent interactions with China. World health experts were taken by surprise by Taiwan’s deft handling of the outbreak.
Having previously experienced a SARS outbreak, Taiwanese not only faced the COVID-19 pandemic with a high level of crisis awareness, but also showed their law-abiding nature and ethical spirit by strictly following the government’s disease prevention measures.
Taiwan has set an example for global disease prevention in the fight against COVID-19.
A group of countries, led by the US, are trying to reconstruct the world’s economic and security order. As an international focal point, Taiwan is likely to attract additional investments from domestic and overseas businesses, as more enterprises withdraw from China.
Given these circumstances, the demand for high-tech talent and factory workers is certain to increase.
With a greater number of Taiwanese pursuing higher education and the nation experiencing a declining birthrate, the nation is struggling to meet increased demand for high-tech talent and factory workers. It will become necessary to import workers from around the world to live and work in Taiwan.
Based on my more than 30 years of experience in the tech industry, President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration should learn from the US’ green cards — officially known as permanent resident cards — by issuing “Taiwanese green cards” to professionals and skilled migrant workers willing to work in Taiwan.
After acquiring their green cards, they should be allowed to reside in the nation for an extended period, without having the length of their stay restricted, and their dependents should be allowed to come and live with them, once their applications have been approved by the government.
A Taiwanese green card would allow the nation to satisfy increased demand for labor in the tech industry, improve its overall economic competitiveness, reduce issues arising from an extremely low birthrate and stabilize society, while also increasing consumption, which would boost the economy.
Taiwanese green cards would also serve as proof that the cardholders are eligible to live and work in the nation, and all holders should be allowed to enjoy social welfare, subject to government approval.
However, this would not guarantee that the workers and their dependents would automatically be eligible to acquire national identification cards.
As the Chinese threat against Taiwan remains high, the government should prioritize national security and set a high threshold for eligibility for a national identification card, stringently reviewing all applicants.
Lin Chin-kuo is business manager of a technology company.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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