The Philippine spouse of a Taiwanese man living in Pingtung County received a residence permit on Tuesday after having lived in the country illegally for 14 years.
After marrying her husband in the Philippines in 1997, Elvy Brandino flew to Taiwan on a six-month visitor visa that expired in May 1998, the National Immigration Agency said.
Brandino continued to stay in Pingtung even after her visa expired because neither she nor her husband, who comes from a disadvantaged background, were aware that she was entitled to apply for permanent residency with her visitor visa and marriage certificate, the agency said.
Brandino gave birth to a boy in June 1998 and made the decision to stay in the country illegally to take care of him after he was diagnosed with severe autism.
It was only recently that she summoned the courage to come clean about her visa to county social workers and ask for help, the agency said.
The case was transferred to the agency’s services office and special task force in Pingtung, which launched an investigation into the matter.
Brandino feared that she might be deported and barred from returning to Taiwan, but her love for her son moved the authorities, who decided to make an exception in her case and issue her a dependent’s residence permit, a National Immigration Agency spokesman said.
Holding the document that identifies her as a legal resident, a happy and excited Brandino said she could now look for a job to better support her family.
“I wish to provide a better life for my son,” she said.