Tue, Jun 11, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Foreigners get rare residency status

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Interior minister Yu Cheng-hsien presents enlarged, framed copies of permanent ARC certificates to Bjarne Gislefoss and his wife Alfhild yesterday.

PHOTO: TUNG CHENG-KUO, TAIPEI TIMES

Four elderly foreigners who have made significant contributions to Taiwan over the past few decades received their permanent residency status yesterday from Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲).

To signify Taiwan's high regard for their long-time devotion and good deeds toward the nation, Yu visited Bjarne Gislefoss and his wife Alfhild Gislefoss in Nantou County, Joyce Millan in Changhua County and Doris Brougham in Taipei City -- presenting them with Alien Permanent Resident Certificates.

Yu will today also travel to Ilan to present the same certificates to Ted Skiles and his wife, Beverly Skiles, while the ministry's Political Vice Minister Hsu Yin-shen (許應深) will travel to Penghu on behalf of Yu to present the certificate to Marjorie Bly.

Yesterday's recipients were the first beneficiaries of the relaxation of related legislation.

The Legislative Yuan on May 14 ratified amendments to the Immigration Law that approved a proposal to grant permanent residency to foreigners who have made commendable contributions to the nation. The amendments took effect on May 29.

The revisions to the immigration law also significantly eased the requirements for foreigners and alien family members of Taiwanese nationals seeking permanent residency in Taiwan.

"This [permanent residency] is the most valuable gift that both me and my wife have received in Taiwan," Bjarne Gislefoss was quoted as saying upon receiving the certificate from Yu.

The Gislefosses established the Puli Christian Hospital in Nantou County and have devoted nearly 50 years of their time and their medical expertise to the locals and Aboriginal populations.

"Many of our respected foreign friends have not been able to obtain their permanent residency under the previous rules that required applicants to live in the country for at least 270 days a year for seven consecutive years," said Yu at the presentation to Doris Brougham.

Yu was referring to the phenomenon that, due to frequent trips overseas -- and despite having lived in Taiwan for decades -- foreign missionaries and residents remained non-eligible for permanent residency under the previous immigration law.

"I am gratified that revisions to the immigration law in regard to that [previous situation] have been passed, thus allowing foreign residents whom have made great contributions to Taiwan to get permanent residency here," Yu said.

"I am thankful for all those who helped push through the process that enabled me to get my permanent residency," said Doris Brougham.

"By obtaining it [the permanent residency], I think it really serves as an encouragement to other foreigners who now can say to themselves that they also have the opportunity to obtain theirs."

Brougham, a Christian missionary from Seattle, has dedicated herself to advancing the Tai-wanese public's English proficiency since 1962 with her Studio Classroom magazine and radio and TV programs.

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