Legislation to relax requirements for foreign professionals working or seeking employment in Taiwan took effect Feb. 8, spotlighting government efforts to foster the recruitment and retention of top talents and boost the nation’s economic development.

According to the Cabinet-level National Development Council, the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals aims to fast-track the country’s industrial upgrading and transformation through attracting talents in the fields of arts and culture, architecture, economics, education, finance, law, science and technology as well as sports.

Under the act, a four-in-one Employment Gold Card can be issued to qualified foreign professionals, offering greater freedom for talents to work and transfer jobs in Taiwan. Valid for one to three years, the card functions as a work permit, residency visa, Alien Resident Certificate and re-entry permit, and makes it easier to access the National Health Insurance system.

A bilingual online platform for the Employment Gold Card, operated by the National Immigration Agency, helps streamline the application procedure and provides key information on the program, the NDC said.

According to the new legislation, employed foreign professionals who have obtained permanent residency in Taiwan can be included in the national pension system under the Labor Pension Act. In addition, family members including spouses, underage children and disabled adult children will be able to submit applications for permanent residency under the new legislation.

Foreign nationals seeking employment in Taiwan may now enter the nation on a job-seeking visa for a maximum six-month stay. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, up to 2,000 such visas will be issued to qualified applicants each year.

In addition, the NDC said that foreign artists may now apply directly to the Ministry of Labor for a work permit for a duration of up to three years instead of through an employer.

According to the council, information on employment opportunities is available on Contact Taiwan, a Mandarin-English website operated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The site enables prospective job seekers to view openings and access information relating to visa applications, taxation and housing.