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May 27, 2017

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MOI to reconsider foreign spouse immigration rules

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said yesterday that it will consider adjusting regulations regarding immigration controls for foreign spouses.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) proposed an amendment to loosen immigration controls for foreign spouses who have underage children.

According to authorities, many unlawful intermediaries who coerce foreign workers to come to Taiwan intentionally persuade them to use fake, forged or expired documents to enter the country.

Based on the current Alien Entry Prohibition Operation Directions, any foreigner found holding an illegally obtained, counterfeit or falsified passport or visa will be banned from entering Taiwan for 10 years.

However, Hsiao said that according to the Rules Governing Permits for People in Mainland China Entering Taiwan, people from mainland China who are discovered doing the same thing will only be forbidden to enter Taiwan for two to five years, and those who have underage children can face a reduced penalty.

Hsiao said that the National Immigration Agency (NIA) should review the regulations as soon as possible and reduce the immigration controls for foreign spouses from 10 years to two years.

According to Hsiao, lowering the threshold of immigration controls for foreign spouses will protect their basic human rights and solve the issue of caring for young children.

A 42-year-old Taiwanese citizen surnamed Chang said that his wife, who is from Indonesia, is currently in her home country after being banned from entering Taiwan for five years.

"The intermediary that my wife encountered forged her documents when she was 19 years old," said Chang. "Therefore, she was forbidden to come to Taiwan for 10 years, but since we have children, that penalty was reduced to five years."

Chang said that he has flown to Indonesia 10 times within a year and a half to visit his pregnant wife and young child, costing him his job. He added that he really looked forward to reuniting with his family again.

The MOI said that the reason why the immigration control thresholds for spouses from mainland China and other countries are different is that different regulations are applied to people from different areas.

According to the MOI, the visa application processes for people from mainland China and other countries are different as well, and officials haven't been able to reach an agreement on whether or not to adjust the regulations.

The MOI said that the NIA has started to collect information regarding foreigners who use illegally obtained, counterfeit or falsified passports or visas to enter Taiwan and is considering making adjustment to the regulations.

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