Following an announcement by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) calling for the time needed for Chinese spouses to obtain national ID cards to be shortened, the Cabinet yesterday proposed revised rules to give the group the same treatment as other foreign spouses.
The Cabinet meeting approved an amendment to the Act Governing 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) and referred the bill to the legislature for review.
Under the amendment, the shortest waiting period for Chinese spouses to obtain IDs was four years, cut from the present six years.
According to the revised rules, to apply for an ID, a Chinese spouse has to wait for three years to obtain dependence residency, down from four years as currently stipulated, and must meet the requirement to stay in Taiwan for more than 183 days every year during the period.
After that, Chinese spouses living in Taiwan for 335 days in the next year, 270 days in each of the following two years, or 183 days in each of the next five years, would be granted long-term residence status, with which they would be eligible to apply for permanent residence.
If the amendment is approved by the legislature, about 20,000 Chinese spouses would qualify for permanent residence.
In 2009, the waiting time for Chinese spouses to obtain IDs was reduced from eight to six years.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, more than 460,000 foreign and Chinese spouses live in Taiwan. Among the 300,000 Chinese spouses, 90,000 have obtained IDs.