Thu, Aug 20, 2009 - Page 4 News List

MOFA censured for not explaining visa criteria for spouses

UNCLEAR Spouses whose applications to join their partner are turned down are not informed of the reason or told how they can appeal the decision

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Control Yuan yesterday censured the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for rejecting visa applications by foreign spouses without giving a reason.

“An average of 35 percent of visa applications filed by foreign spouses are denied each year. They are not told why they are rejected or how to make an appeal if they disagree with the results,” Control Yuan member Shen Mei-chen (沈美真) told a press conference yesterday.

The visas in question are temporary visas issued to new foreign spouses wishing to join their husband or wife in Taiwan. The visas are the first step toward applying for residency.

The Control Yuan said MOFA had violated the right of foreign spouses to take legal action if their applications are rejected.

Shen said the Control Yuan did not accept MOFA’s rationale when it said the government does not have an obligation to reveal why it rejects a visa application, as a country has sovereignty over who enters its borders.

“The issue of foreign spouses coming to live with their families is not political but a matter of basic human rights enshrined in the Constitution. Those who are denied visas have the right to file an appeal with an administrative court,” Shen said.

The Control Yuan said MOFA should set clear criteria for the visas and keep a record of visa applications and their review.

Control Yuan member Chao Jung-yao (趙榮耀) said criteria for foreign spouses should be different from those for other applicants.

“As the purpose of a foreign spouse coming to Taiwan is to join his or her family, different reasoning should apply when reviewing such visa applications,” Chao said.

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