Overstayers who self-report not jailed until July

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Jan 07, 2019 - Page 3

Foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas can pay a reduced fine and are not to be detained if they report to immigration authorities before July 1, as part of an amnesty program, the National Immigration Agency said yesterday.

Agency Director-General Chiu Feng-kuang (邱豐光) said that the number of people who had overstayed their visas reached 88,000 in October.

To address the issue, fines would be reduced and re-entry bans shortened for people who report to immigration authorities by June 30, Chiu said.

For those who come forward, there would be no mandatory detention, a maximum penalty of NT$2,000 and a reduced re-entry ban, while after that date, they risk a fine of up to NT$10,000 and an eight-year entry ban, he said.

Migrant workers are the largest group of overstayers, at 51,982, or about 59 percent of those registered by the agency as overstaying their visas through November last year.

Of those, 24,267 were Vietnamese and 24,176 Indonesian, data showed.

After the amnesty period ends, the penalties are to increase in line with proposed legislative amendments, the agency said.

The announcement followed reports last month that 148 Vietnamese had gone missing from tour groups.

As of yesterday, 104 were unaccounted for, Chiu said, adding that they would not be eligible for the amnesty program.

Overstaying foreign nationals can voluntarily report to immigration authorities and people can report hiring of illegal workers by calling the toll-free hotline 0800-024-881.

Information about the amnesty program is accessible at https://www.immigration.gov.tw/5475/5478/6928/146024/.