Starting next month, foreign professionals who hold a “Plum Blossom” Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) can apply for citizenship through a simplified process, officials announced yesterday.
The certificate aims to encourage talented foreigners to stay in Taiwan, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) said.
Eligible cardholders can apply through the National Immigration Agency with a letter from their employer, eliminating the need to obtain a recommendation from the agency governing the applicant’s industry.
The policy would apply to those with a Plum Blossom APRC and would eliminate the requirement for an additional review, Hua said.
Previously, cardholders who wanted to become naturalized citizens were required to undergo a review by the Ministry of the Interior that was nearly identical to the one the immigration agency administers for the Plum Blossom APRC, Hua said, adding that the process was repetitive and inconvenient.
Since June last year, 59 foreign professionals have been granted citizenship, three of whom held Plum Blossom APRCs, the ministry said.
There are still 90 professionals with Plum Blossom APRCs who have not applied for citizenship, the ministry said.
Plum Blossom APRCs are granted to specialized professionals, those who have made outstanding contributions to the nation and those who have earned certain awards or recognition from the government, immigration official Lee Ming-fang (李明芳) said.
An interested applicant does not need to have lived in Taiwan for five years to obtain the card, Lee said, adding that spouses and dependents could apply.
Cardholders do not need a company sponsor and can apply for jobs at will, Lee said.
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