As confirmed cases of coronavirus dip in Australia, the prospect of relocating overseas is once again at the forefront of people’s minds.
Whilst many immigration procedures can be intimidating and convoluted, the Taiwanese Government’s Gold Card Visa program is designed to streamline the process and entice people from around the world to make Taiwan their new home.
The Gold Card program enables highly skilled professionals from eight broad fields to live and work on the idyllic island nation for up to three years. Professionals like Australian Tom Fifield, with his impressive background in consulting, physics and business, are positioned as ideal candidates for this program.
Gold Card Benefits
The program’s launch in 2018 was serendipitous for Tom. His working visa had nearly expired and he wasn’t looking forward to the usual process of visiting visa centres and filling out complex forms.
“One of the amazing things about the Gold Card is you can apply from the comfort of your own home,” he said.
“And being able to get the gold card within 30 days from applying is a very fast and efficient way to do things.”
On top of streamlining the bureaucratic process, the Gold Card program is unique to other immigration programs because applicants aren’t required to have workplace sponsorship before applying, making it more flexible. As Tom said, “You’re assessed on your skills and career history alone. So you can present who you are through a series of documents and get a very valuable visa that lets you work for any or as many companies as you want.”
Although slightly more expensive than a regular visa, every Gold Card Holder is automatically given Gold Card alumni status. As an alumni member, you gain access to exclusive events, assistance with acclimating to the local culture, and the opportunity to connect with other alumni members.
“Some of the more prominent members of the community include a Broadway musical singer or medical device technology PhD candidate, or someone who used to be a diplomat and is now working in finance. it’s a very interesting crew,” Tom said.
And if you fall completely in love with everything the island has to offer, changes have been proposed to allow Gold Card Holders to achieve permanent residence after three years.
Location, Location, Location
Before applying for the Gold Card program, Tom spent many months of the year travelling for work. But of all the places he visited, no place left an impression on him quite like Taiwan.
“I was going to dozens of countries and dozens of cities every year, but within a week of being in Taiwan I knew I didn’t want to leave.
“The people are, by their nature, extremely friendly and welcoming. If you’re looking lost on a street corner, looking at the map, it’s guaranteed that someone will come up to you and help.”
Aside from a courteous culture, Taiwan is renowned for its impressive natural environment, with mountains occupying 70 per cent of the island.
With a landmass roughly half the size of Tasmania and a high speed rail train network connecting all major cities along the west coast, you can travel from the capital, Taipei, to the southernmost city of Taidong in a matter of hours.
For Tom, living in Taipei allows him a perfect work life balance, where he can easily commute from the city’s bustling centre to more bucolic regions such as Nantou County.
“It’s a completely unique environment. In Australia if you want to go for a decent bushwalk you’re going to spend some serious hours in the car before you get to a place.
But here, you can basically just jump on public transport and then maybe a taxi and you’ll end up somewhere special.”
Who Can Apply?
The Gold Card program is deliberately broad in its scope to attract a range of skilled professionals. Over 1,500 people have had their applications approved, in fields ranging from economics; arts and culture; finance; and science.
You can check out other case studies of Gold Card Holders here.
On average successful applicants have five years working experience, or an equivalent postgraduate qualification. But given the fluidity of the requirement, Tom said it’s worth inquiring further if you’re interested.
“There’s about 50 different ways that you can qualify for a Gold Card, so it’s worth doing a bit of research about the various ways to apply.”
The good news for anyone wishing to apply, is that a dedicated office has just been created to help people navigate the process, and to provide a service once you’ve arrived.
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