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NIA eases fingerprint rules for spouses from mainland

TAIPEI--The Chinese spouses of Taiwanese nationals no longer have to be fingerprinted every time they enter Taiwan if their data are already on record, National Immigration Agency Director-General Hsieh Li-kung said yesterday.

The relaxation of the fingerprinting regulations, with immediate effect, is stipulated in a legal amendment put forward by the agency.

The amendment was approved last month by the Ministry of the Interior and made public Oct. 19, Hsieh said, noting that around 300,000 Chinese spouses of Taiwanese nationals will benefit from the new measure, as will other Chinese citizens who are in Taiwan on special resident permits and who are also required to have their fingerprints taken.

Mandatory fingerprinting of Chinese nationals was introduced at a time when many Chinese people were trying to enter Taiwan using false identification documents, according to Hsieh.

The regulations were revised because cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges and marriages have become more common, he said.

Nevertheless, he went on, Chinese visitors to Taiwan will still be fingerprinted at points of entry if immigration officers have cause to question their identification.

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