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Taiwan moves to amend immigration laws

TAIPEI -- The Executive Yuan on yesterday approved three draft amendments that will increase the personal freedom and rights of foreign nationals, pending passage in the Legislature.

The amendments also cover the rights of immigrants from China, Hong Kong and Macao and include matters regarding deportation.

The bill has been sent to the Legislature for priority amendment of three laws — the Immigration Act, the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, and the Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong and Macao Affairs

Premier Jiang Yi-huah said he has asked the Ministry of the Interior and the Mainland Affairs Council to negotiate with the legislative caucuses of the ruling and opposition parties to quickly pass the bills.

The draft amendment to the Immigration Act specifies that foreign nationals awaiting deportation should be given a chance to argue any criminal cases against them, once such cases are already in the judicial process.

In addition, any detainee, his/her spouse, lineal relative, legal representative, or sibling may file a petition against a detention decision by the National Immigration Agency, which should send the case to court within 24 hours of receiving the petition, according to the draft bill.

It also states that people from China, Hong Kong and Macao who overstay their Taiwan resident certificates by less than 30 days but still have valid resident reasons would be allowed to reapply for their resident status without having to leave the country.

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