China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 25, 2016
Executive Summary: The Ministry of Labour hopes to relax restrictions on overseas white collar technicians. It has proposed an amendment to the Foreigner Employment Service Law, but has run into stubborn opposition from New Power Party (NPP) legislator Huang Kuo-chang and his ilk. The bill may not get off the ground. The entire world is fighting over talented individuals. Yet politicians on Taiwan are doing their utmost to turn back the clock.
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The Ministry of Labour hopes to relax restrictions on overseas white collar technicians. It has proposed an amendment to the Foreigner Employment Service Law, but has run into stubborn opposition from New Power Party (NPP) legislator Huang Kuo-chang and his ilk. The bill may not get off the ground. The entire world is fighting over talented individuals. Yet politicians on Taiwan are doing their utmost to turn back the clock. Phison Dongzuo, aka Pan Chien-cheng, is a successful entrepreneur born in Malaysia, and educated on Taiwan. He is the CEO of Phison Electronics Corporation. Pan has issued a heart-felt warning against the DPP's narrow-minded nationalism.
Huang Kuo-chang and others are trotting out elaborate justifications for their opposition. They say loosened restrictions would expose a number of career fields, including shipping, telecommunications, tourism, and finance to increased competition. Low cost workers on the Mainland, who are near by and who speak the same language, would migrate to Taiwan and significantly affect the livelihood of local workers. They would make it harder for young people to find jobs, and reduce their wages. Such outdated arguments might have persuaded people during the 20th century. But any current government that cares about global competitiveness would consider these arguments a joke. If any of Taiwan's competitors learn that this is Taiwan's official position, they will jump for joy.
Why? Simple. Governments the world over are aggressively deregulating. They are loosening policies and laws pertaining to visa issuance for foreign students and workers. They are offering a wide variety of incentives to encourage first-class talent to emigrate and become naturalized citizens. Taiwan, meanwhile, is slamming its door shut. It is erecting daunting barriers to prevent individuals with talent from entering. It is even intent on driving away talented foreigners who are already on Taiwan, who have already contributed to Taiwan. These individuals will surely be snatched up by other countries. So who will be the biggest loser?
Never mind distant regions. Sharp contrasts can be found nearby, right now. The Hong Kong based South China Morning Post recently reported that the Mainland authorities, in order to attract more foreign investment and talent, has officially loosened green card qualification requirements. It has switched from attracting foreign investment to attracting foreign talent. Experts and head-hunters may consider its measures insufficient to attract experienced professionals. But in general they think the effect on foreign talent will be positive.
But here is the really interesting part. Does anyone really imagine policymakers in Beijing haven't thought this through? Do policymakers in Beijing really believe their policies will hurt the livelihood of local workers and make it more difficult for Mainland youth to find jobs? They do not. Their reasoning echoes that of governments the world over. They know that global competitiveness is rooted in brain power, in the ability to innovate. Think about it. Any country would love to attract a talent such as Steve Jobs. How much value can such an individual create? How many jobs? The United States became the world's superpower, because she attracted the first-class talent from the world over. Aren't Mainland China's relaxed requirements for green card eligibility, based on just this sort of strategic thinking?
Taiwan's biggest problem is that its myriad regulations and policies never attract foreign talent. By contrast the Mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao actively create conditions that attract talent from Taiwan. Anyone with even a smattering of knowledge realizes this. How many of Taiwan's top high school graduates are drawn to Hong Kong, Macao, and the Mainland by scholarships? Many talented individuals are poached from the Academia Sinica and top tier universities? In recent years, Taiwan's technology industry has faced increasing bottlenecks. The brain drain of top tier industry professionals is increasingly serious. In 2014, professionals who relocated away from Taiwan accounted for 61.1% of the world's total. Taiwan ranked first in the world.
The opportunities and conditions Taiwan offered to foreign talent lost their attraction long ago. That is why industry is now in a panic. The Ministry of Labor is loosening restrictions on white collar professionals born overseas but who studied on Taiwan. Too bad they are a day late and a dollar short. How much actual impact is this having? That is hard to say. Huang Kuo-chang and other legislators are even demanding that this tiny door be slammed shut. Is this really “loving Taiwan”, or is this “harming Taiwan”?
Phison Dongzuo, aka Pan Chien-cheng, emigrated to Taiwan from Malaysia. He founded an electronics giant with a market value of nearly 50 billion dollars. He employs 1,000 workers. In addition to founding Phison, Pan recently recruited 70 to 80 overseas Chinese white-collar workers. If we count workers in the upstream and downstream industry chain, he has created employment opportunities for over 10,000 people. The world is fighting over people like Pan Chien-cheng. Yet Huang Kuo-chang and his ilk would slam the door in the face of such talented individuals. They would even cast out others already on Taiwan. This sort of isolationist xenophobia was in vogue eight years ago. It was overcome only after great difficulty. Yet Huang Kuo-chang and his ilk would resurrect it. If Taiwan actually turns the clock back and reverts to isolationism, it will lose its competitiveness entirely within a few short years. Jobs will be harder to find, and wages will be lower. The ultimate result of such xenophobic isolationism will be national collapse.
外國人從事就業服務法》修正案， 卻遭時代力量立委黃國昌等強力反對，可能因而卡關。 當全世界都在使勁爭奪精英人才的此刻，政治人物卻強開歷史倒車。 來自馬來西亞， 在台灣受教育後創業有成的群聯電子董座潘健成心所謂危， 起而批判狹隘的民族主義。
電信、觀光、金融等多項職業領域面臨進一步開放競爭， 可能造成距離近、語言相同、成本相對低廉的大陸勞動力來台工作， 大幅影響本地勞工的生計，也將使青年就業困難、 起薪低迷的問題面臨更嚴峻考驗。這種過時的論述如果放在20世紀 ，大概還有人聽得進去，如今全球只要還在乎競爭力的政府， 早就把這種論述當笑料了， 如果台灣的競爭對手知道這將會是台灣的官方論述， 他們肯定雀躍不已。
工作等各方面的政策與法令上大幅開放，更創造各種誘因， 以便吸引甚至爭取全球第一流的人才前來並入籍之際， 台灣卻關上大門，還設下重重不友善的障礙， 讓優秀人才不得其門而入， 還可能要趕走已經在台灣奉獻的外籍人才， 這些全球都在搶的人才肯定都會被其他國家爭取去， 這一出一進之間，試問誰才是最大輸家呢？
根據香港《南華早報》日前報導， 中國大陸為吸引更多外國人才到中國工作和投資， 已正式擴大綠卡申請資格涵蓋範圍，將從過去的「吸引外資」轉向「 吸引外才」。 雖然專家和獵人頭業者認為這項政策對於資深專業人士來說， 或許吸引力還不夠， 不過一般還是認為此舉對吸引外國人才肯定會起正面作用。
難道北京決策者不會想到此舉會影響到當地勞工的生計嗎？ 不會讓大陸青年就業更困難嗎？答案完全不會， 因為他們與全球執政者的思維邏輯是一樣的， 今天全球競爭力的核心是什麼？就是腦力，就是創新的能力， 嘗試想想，今天不論哪一個國家， 如果能爭取到一個像賈伯斯這樣的人才， 僅他一個人就能創造多少產值？又能開創多少工作機會？ 美國會成為全球超強， 不就是因為她吸引全球第一流人才聚集所締造的嗎？ 大陸會在政策上擴大綠卡申請資格涵蓋範圍， 也不就是基於這種戰略思維嗎？
從來就沒有締造任何吸引外籍優秀人才的誘因， 相對大陸與港澳卻積極創造條件吸引台灣的優秀人才， 稍微留心趨勢發展的人當心知肚明， 每年不知有多少台灣一流的高中畢業生，被港、澳、 大陸高額的獎學金吸引走， 中研院乃至頂尖大學也有許多人才被高薪挖走， 近年台灣科技產業發展面臨瓶頸， 高端產業人才出走現象也日趨嚴重。2014年台灣專業人才外移占 總外移人口61.1%，高居全球第一。
企業需才孔急， 勞動部乃針對僑外生留台從事技術性白領工作進行政策性鬆綁， 其實只是亡羊補牢，實際上有多少效果真的還很難說， 黃國昌等立委卻是連這個小門都要關上，這哪是在愛台灣？ 這是在害台灣哪！
電子產業，員工約千人，除創辦人潘健成等為僑生，近年聘用了70 、80名僑外白領人士，但加計上下游產業鏈， 開創的就業機會逾萬。正是像潘健成這樣的人才， 是全球都在爭奪的，若依黃國昌等人的見解， 等於要將這樣的人才全擋在門外， 甚至可能還想將已留在台灣的全趕出去。這種排外鎖國的思維，8年 前也曾流行過，好不容易這幾年打開些許局面了， 黃國昌等卻意圖使之大復活，台灣若真因此倒回鎖國年代， 不出幾年將喪失所有競爭力，就業困難、 起薪低迷的問題只會更嚴重！鎖國的最後，將是亡國！