FILE PHOTO: Tourists from China walk past the Taiwan’s landmark building Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
The Taiwan government on February 8 began the implementation of a law aimed at attracting foreign professionals.
In an announcement by the National Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) on Monday, a quota of 2,000 has been set for the first year of the job-seeking visa which allows foreign nationals to remain in Taiwan for up to six months while looking for employment.
Applicants with work experience will be required to provide documents showing their average monthly salary of at least NT$ 47,000 or P85,000 per month in their most recent six months of employment, while those with no work experience should submit their diploma from one the 500 schools recognized by Taiwan’s ministry of education.
All applicants must be able to prove they have funds of at least NT$ 100,000 or P180,000 to cover their basic living costs for six months in Taiwan.
Other required supporting documents include a police record, a job-seeking plan, and proof of health insurance coverage for the duration of the applicant’s stay in Taiwan.
The new program will be an added advantage for Filipinos after the Taiwan government allowed visa-free entry for one year.
“Magandang balita po iyan para sa mga kababayan natin sa Pilipinas lalo na po sa mga skilled workers. Mas madali po makakapag-apply, wala na po masyadong hassle at mas dadami kami dito sa Taiwan,” said Filipino engineer, Marvin Cruz.
(That is good news for our countrymen in the Philippines especially for skilled workers. Many will be able to apply without much hassle. There will be more of us in Taiwan soon.)
“Kung matutuloy po yan na magbukas sila nagbabalak rin po akong makapasok para rin po sa mas mataas na rate ng sahod kaysa factory worker,” said Rommel Salud, an electrical engineering graduate working as a factory worker.
(If it pushes through I am planning to apply for a chance at a higher salary than a factory worker.)
The application fee for US passport holders is around US$160 and for citizens of all other countries US$50.
Additional information and application forms for the new job-seeking visas are available on the National Bureau of Consular Affairs website. —Amiel Pascual | UNTV News & Rescue
Activists urge Japan to apologize for forcing women to work in wartime brothels
A protester wearing a mask representing ‘comfort women’ | Reuters
Over 50 activists wearing white face masks joined a sit-in protest in front of Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei on Tuesday (August 14), asking for a formal apology and demanding monetary compensation for Taiwanese women who were forced to work in its wartime brothels.
In drizzling rain, women’s rights activists wore black shirts and masks representing the “comfort women” – a euphemism for girls and women forced to work in Japan’s wartime brothels – who have already passed away. They also held reeds to symbolize the tenderness and endurance of comfort women over the years, inspired by the documentary film “Song of the Reed” which pays tribute to the women.
Before the sit-in protest, Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation Chairperson Huang Shu-ling handed a letter of protest addressed to the Japanese government to a Japanese official. Police hovered nearby and declared the protest a violation of the assembly and parade act, though they allowed it to continue until the event was over.
Like other Asian nations including South Korea and China, Taiwan has an ongoing dispute with Japan over the treatment of women during the war. — Reuters
Fire at Taiwan hospital kills 9, injures 15
Burning hospital building in Taiwan | Reuters
A fire at a government-run hospital in Taiwan’s New Taipei City killed nine people on Monday (August 13) and injured 15, authorities said.
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blaze, which broke out on the 7th floor of the building used for hospice care and was extinguished shortly after dawn, authorities added.
New Taipei fire department chief Huang Te-ching said 43 people, including patients and hospital staff, were evacuated after the fire started. Twenty-three people were rushed to other hospitals.
Local media footage showed firefighters battling the flames from a crane, as staff rushed patients on hospital beds into the street or into ambulances destined for other hospitals. — Reuters
Taiwan extends visa-free privileges to Filipinos
TAIPEI City, Taiwan – The government of Taiwan announced Wednesday (June 27) that it will extend its trial period of visa-free privileges to three Southeast Asian nations by another one year until July 31, 2019.
The extension, announced by Taiwan’s Minister without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen, was decided over an inter-ministerial meeting earlier this month.
Currently, Filipinos are given up to 14 days on visa-free entry while citizens of Thailand and Brunei are allowed to stay in Taiwan for a maximum of 30 days. Chang, however, clarified that the extension will now be granting visa-free privileges of no more than 14 days to citizens of all three countries in order to better facilitate the visa-waiver program.
He added that due to border security and immigration concerns, they will not add any other countries to its visa-free program at this time. However, he assured that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Immigration Agency are finding ways of making visitor entry to Taiwan more convenient.
Visa-free entry was introduced for Thai and Brunei citizens in August 2016 on a trial basis. It was extended last year to July 31, 2018. Meanwhile, the same privilege was opened to Filipinos in November last year which also runs through July 31.
Filipinos in Taiwan appreciates the gesture of the Taiwanese government for opening its doors to Filipinos.
“Magandang balita iyan dahil pabor sa marami na gusting makabisita ditto at pabor din sa mga mahala natin sa buhay na makabisita ditto,” said Filipina worker Norie Rosales.
“Mas marami ang maeengganyo na pumasyal dito sa Taiwan…Mas madali sa aming mga mahal sa buhay na makapamasyal dito…at makasama naming dito at maipakita ang ganda ng Taiwan,” exclaimed Mario Subeldia, a Filipino Sand Artist in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Bureau of Tourism reported that the number of Filipino tourist arrivals to Taiwan increased from almost 180,000 in 2016 to over 290,000 last year, mainly because of the visa-free program. – Amiel Pascual / Marje Pelayo