The Taiwanese wife of a Tibetan man lodged a protest with the government yesterday, accusing the authorities of discriminating against Taiwanese-Tibetan marriages by making it difficult for her husband to obtain residency.
Tsai Yung-ching (蔡詠晴), a documentary filmmaker, called on the government to grant her and her Tibetan husband the right to be together in Taiwan based on human rights considerations.
Tsai said at a press conference that her husband, Tsering, has had to leave Taiwan and re-enter every six months for the past two years because the overseas visa office will only grant him a visitor visa that bears the words “residency application prohibited.”
Because of his status, Tsering cannot seek employment, nor is he entitled to any of the social services enjoyed by residents, Tsai said.
She said her husband, who holds a travel document issued by the Indian government called the Identity Certificate (IC) paper, is a “social-service refugee,” who, because he is required to make frequent visa runs, is often not at home and therefore unable to look after their child.
She asked President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) wife, Chow Mei-ching (周美青), who is known for her concern for children and their interests, how she could help solve the trials and tribulations facing her family.
In response, Chou Chung--hsing (周中興), a section chief with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Bureau of Consular Affairs, said Taiwan does not issue resident visas to travel document holders from anywhere in the world, not just Tibetans.
Wu Pei-chuan (吳佩娟), a National Immigration Agency supervisor, said the agency issues residency documents based on visas issued by the ministry. In general, she said, foreign spouses of Republic of China citizens can be granted residency if they hold a proper short-term (60 days or less) visa, but not if it bears the words “residency application prohibited.”