Wed, Oct 08, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet looks to let people buy their way into nation

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Foreigners, with the exception of Chinese nationals, who invest a certain amount of money in Taiwan would be eligible for permanent-residency status, according to the Executive Yuan's preliminary review of the draft immigration law (入出國及移民法).

Currently, only foreigners who make a special contribution to the nation or high-technology specialists are eligible for permanent-residency status

The draft would also adopt a more lenient approach toward foreigners who fail to carry their picture identification.

According to a Cabinet official who asked not to be named, no annual quota would be set for investment-related immigration.

"Interested people meeting certain criteria could file their application," the official said, adding that the criteria would be specified in a separate regulation.

Those wishing to emigrate to the US are required by the US government to invest US$1 million, the Canadian government requires C$400,000 (US$299,267), the Australian government A$1 million (US$689,100), the New Zealand government NZ$1 million (US$597,200) and the Singaporean government S$1.5 million (US$870,171).

While the US government sets an annual quota of 10,000 people, the other countries do not have a quota.

Taking human rights into consideration, the official said, the draft would loosen regulations requiring foreigners to show their picture identification.

"The draft stipulates that only those refusing to show their identification would be punished," the official said.

Foreigners who fail to show their visa or residence permit to authorities are subject to a fine of between NT$2,000 and NT$10,000.

As the Cabinet has approved the draft organic law of the immigration office (入出國及移民署組織條例) and is reviewing the immigration bill, the Executive Yuan hopes to review the guidelines on immigration policy (中華民國移民政策綱領) in six months and to send the three drafts together to the legislature for review and final approval.

While the immigration office would improve the downstream management of immigrants, the immigration law and the guidelines on immigration policy would outline upstream foreign population policies.

The Cabinet approved the draft bill of the organic law of the immigration office early last month. If approved by the legislature, the immigration office will be established under the Ministry of the Interior to handle the screening of potential immigrants from China, Hong Kong and Macao as well as overseas Taiwanese lacking household registration records.

The office would consist of nine divisions and 1,640 staffers. The investigation squad, encompassing 10 teams and 25 sub-teams, would be responsible for investigating and deporting people for violations.

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