Fri, Dec 12, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers loosen rules concerning Chinese spouses

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government yesterday significantly relaxed the restrictions on working, inheriting property and obtaining national ID cards for Chinese spouses, in a move aimed at removing regulations many of the nation’s 290,000 Chinese spouses have long labeled discriminatory.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC)-proposed amendment 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) was approved at the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Should the amendment pass the legislature, legal immigrant spouses from China will be entitled to work as soon as they enter the country.

The amendment proposed canceling a two-year period for Chinese spouses to stay in Taiwan on unification visas to shorten the period they need to wait before applying for an ID card from eight to six years and the limitation that no more than 6,000 people will be granted ID cards each year.

A Chinese spouse will be allowed to register for permanent residence after he or she applies for short-term residency as a relative and stays for four years and then long-term residence, which grants them another two years of residency.

The government also proposed lifting the regulation that requires Chinese spouses to wait for five more years after the residence registration before they can bring their children under the age of 12 from China to Taiwan.

The government is seeking to drop the regulation that Chinese spouses cannot receive more than NT$2 million (US$60,000) in inheritance.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) told a press conference following the meeting that the revisions were made in line with the precedent set for foreign spouses from countries other than China.

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