Thu, Mar 04, 2004 - Page 1 News List

MOI raises bar for Chinese spouses

REVISION Cross-strait couples will have to prove they are worth at least NT$5 million or earn twice the minimum wage before they can apply for permanent residency

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese spouses must prove they have assets greater than NT$5 million or an income twice the minimum wage before applying for permanent residency this country, according to the latest revision to the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).

"This regulation only applies to those who wish to apply for permanent residence, that is those who wish to be included in the household registration," Vice Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) said yesterday.

According to the Council of Labor Affairs, the minimum wage is NT$15,840 a month.

Before the introduction of the revision, which came into effect on Monday, no financial limitations were imposed on Chinese spouses seeking permanent residency in this country.

Chien added that spouses could also apply if they gained approval from a recognized administration but did not elaborate.

Chien said that it would take eight years of residency before a Chinese spouse could apply for permanent residency.

"First, after getting his or her unification visa (依親簽証), the Chinese spouse can stay for two years in Taiwan. Then the spouse can apply for short-term residency as a relative, which grants him or her four more years of residency. Finally, the spouse can apply for long-term residency which grants him or her another two years of residency. At the end of the two-year period, the Chinese spouse can apply for permanent residency," Chien said.

According to Chien, once the Chinese spouse has been granted residency, he or she can work legally, and should be able to meet one of the financial terms when applying for permanent residency eight years later.

Chien also said that about 50,000 Chinese spouses, who have yet to file permanent residency, would be affected by the revised regulation.

Chien said that similar financial proof regulations also applied to citizens of other nations who wish to apply for permanent residency or naturalization.

"According to Article 42 of the Immigration Law (入出國及移民法), foreign spouses need to present one of the three forms of financial proof," Chien said.

"Furthermore, articles 3 and 4 of the Nationality Law (國籍法) also require an individual of foreign nationality to present financial proof when applying for permanent residency," Chien said.

Chien said that Chinese spouses who have applied for permanent residency within the past three months would not be affected by the new regulation.

"As this revision has just taken effect, during this transition period, we won't put those who have just applied under the same restriction," Chien said.

The new regulation was contained in the revision of Subarticle 5 of Article 17 of the statute, which passed the Executive Yuan and was released by the ministry on Monday.

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