Tue, May 17, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Official highlights issue of ‘phantom population’

Staff Writer, with CNA

An official from the Control Yuan on Sunday highlighted the plight of Taiwanese children born overseas who now reside in Taiwan, but do not have a national identification card, urging the National Immigration Agency to offer them assistance.

Control Yuan member Shen Mei-chen (沈美真) said in many cases these are people who were born overseas to Taiwanese parents and were brought back to Taiwan by their parents, but who failed to apply for an identification card because of their lack of understanding of the law.

When their parents die, as in the case of 26-year-old Huang Min-hsuan (黃敏軒), whose mother passed away without filing an application for her son, these people become part of a “phantom population,” she said.

They are required to pay a fine, go abroad and then return to Taiwan if they want to apply for an identification card, Shen said.

However, such people are often unable to afford the fine or to travel abroad because their lack of an ID card means they are virtually unemployable and are only able to take menial jobs, she added.

The lack of an ID card, for example, forced Huang, who was born in Paraguay and was brought to Taiwan at the age of 14, to steal an ID card in order to get a job, Shen said.

Huang now faces a fine of NT$150,000 for his offenses or a jail term of five-and-a-half months.

To prevent similar problems from happening again, the immigration agency should amend the laws and take the initiative to inform those returning from overseas of the relevant regulations, Shen said.

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