The Ministry of the Interior yesterday announced that it has eased the restrictions on the opening of branch offices by foreign nonprofit organizations (NPOs), including those from Hong Kong and Macau.
The ministry in a press release announced the revised “Directions for Foreign Civil Institutions and Organizations to Apply to Set up and Register Offices in the Republic of China (Taiwan).”
The directions, which were promulgated in 1987, were amended on Dec. 31 last year, when several obstacles to foreign NPOs looking to set up contact points in Taiwan were removed, the ministry said.
Under the revised regulations, foreign NPOs are allowed to establish secretariats and multiple offices in Taiwan, it said, adding that the revisions aim to give foreign NPOs more flexibility in deciding the level and scope of their operations.
In addition, such offices are no longer required to report to the local police, in line with the principle of freedom of association and the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the ministry said.
Other requirements that have been eased include a six-month grace period for the responsible foreign national of such an office to obtain an Alien Resident Certificate, it said.
The regulations for the first time provide a legal basis for NPOs from Hong Kong and Macau to establish offices in Taiwan. They make a clear distinction between NPOs from Hong Kong and Macau, and those from mainland China, the ministry said.
The revised rules stipulate that organizations from mainland China are still not allowed to set up offices and no mainland Chinese citizens are allowed to work for such an office, it said.
The ministry expressed the hope that changes would encourage more foreign NPOs, including those from Hong Kong and Macau, to set up offices in Taiwan, “making the nation more visible on the world stage and help expand its international relations.”
Under the revised regulations, a so-called “foreign civil institution or organization” is defined as a cultural, economic, industrial, commercial, scientific, technological, or other nonprofit institution or organization established in a foreign country.
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