Sat, Dec 22, 2018 - Page 2 News List

Chinese spouses could see rights improve

ISSUE OF RESIDENCY:The Ministry of the Interior said that people have remained in abusive relationships because they could be deported and not see their children again

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff writer

The Ministry of the Interior logo is pictured in Taipei on Dec. 6.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

The Ministry of the Interior yesterday said that it is proposing changes to immigration regulations that would strengthen the custodial and residency rights of Chinese married to Taiwanese nationals.

At the moment, Chinese spouses could lose their residency status if they are divorced without being awarded child custody, the ministry said in a statement.

The regulations have resulted in situations where Chinese spouses stay in abusive marriages because they fear being deported and do not want to be separated from their children, it said.

It was because of this that government officials and civic groups worked to draft the proposed regulatory changes, the ministry said.

According to the proposal, divorced Chinese nationals could retain their residency without having custody of their children, if they have play an important parental role, or if their deportation would cause serious and irreversible harm to the interests of their children, the ministry said.

Furthermore, Chinese widows and widowers would be granted the right to apply for permanent resident status after two years of legal residency in Taiwan, it said, adding that present regulations stipulate a residency period of four years.

Amendments to the Nationality Act (國籍法) in 2016 relaxed the regulatory standards applied to foreign spouses trying to obtain permanent residency or citizenship, which created legal differences between foreign spouses and Chinese spouses that are no longer appropriate, it said.

Chinese spouses are not legally considered foreign citizens, but “people from the Mainland Area,” and since 1992 have been subject to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the ministry said.

The proposed changes are desirable, because they would bring the nation’s codes on Chinese spouses in line with the spirit of international human rights conventions, streamline them with the rest of the nation’s immigration laws and protect the rights of children, it said.

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