The legislature yesterday passed revisions to the immigration law that significantly ease the requirements for foreigners and alien family members of Taiwan nationals to seek permanent residency here.
To help attract talent from abroad, the body also approved proposals to grant permanent residency to foreigners who make important contributions to the nation.
The overhauls will relieve some 2,800 long-term expatriates of the trouble of having to renew their visas to stay in the country.
PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES
Under the amendments, foreigners who have resided in Taiwan for at least 183 days each year for seven consecutive years will be eligible to apply for permanent residency. Existing rules require applicants to live in the country for at least 270 days a year during the same time span.
"The relaxation is aimed at making the nation's immigration law more reasonable and humanitarian," said KMT legislator Apollo Chen (
The amendments also cut the length of time foreign spouses and children of Taiwan nationals must live in Taiwan to apply for permanent residency -- from eight in any 15-year period to five in any 10-year period. The present requirement of 183-day-a-year residence during those years remains unchanged.
This and other qualifications will not apply to foreign residents who have made important contributions to Taiwan, according to the revised legislation.
The exemption is partly designed to benefit foreign missionaries and residents who have lived in the country for decades but are ineligible to seek permanent residency due to frequent trips overseas.
American Doris Brougham, 75, founder of the popular English radio program, Studio Classroom, arrived in the legislature in the afternoon to express her gratitude for the change.
Brougham came to Taiwan as a missionary in 1951 at the age of 25. In 1994, she set up the Doris Brougham Scholarship to encourage students to pursue academic excellence. Now she devotes her time and energy into enhancing the nation's English-language skills.
She has been honored by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) with the Order of the Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon and was made an honorary civil servant of the highest level.
Joyce McMillan, 87, also stands to benefit from the changes. McMillan, who established a medical facility for children with polio in central Taiwan in 1965, was recently fined NT$10,000 and ordered to temporarily leave the country because she overstayed her visa.
Her predicament elicited sympathy from Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) who had campaigned for the legal overhaul.
As the number of polio patients has greatly declined in recent years, McMillan has shifted her focus to looking after mentally-challenged children and senior citizens suffering from dementia. She has won numerous honors over the years, including the Order of the Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon.
Norwegians Alfhild Gislefoss and her husband, Bjarne Gislefoss, who recently received an award for their dedication to Aboriginal affairs, have lived in Taiwan for over 40 years. The couple will soon be given permanent residency following the legal amendments under which authorities will set up a committee to screen applications.
Foreign experts in high technology are also qualified to apply.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut