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May 23, 2017

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Say hello to the new Taiwanese

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Nearly 70 percent of foreigners who became naturalized R.O.C. citizens in 2016 were from Vietnam, according to government statistics released Saturday.

Over 3,000 people were naturalized as R.O.C. citizens in 2016, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) disclosed Saturday.

Most were women: 93.8 percent of the newly naturalized citizens last year were female and 90.74 percent had obtained citizenship through marriage.

Most of them (2,146) hailed from just one country: Vietnam.

Other top sources of Taiwan's newest citizens were Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia, in that order.

Bad News for Bachelors

The effects of sluggish growth at home and an economic boom in Southeast Asia on naturalization is bad news for Taiwan's bachelors.

The number of those who obtained citizenship through marriage in 2016 decreased by 77.27 percent, or 10,032 people, compared to 2008, the ministry said

Taiwan's number of naturalized citizens has fallen every year since 2008, the ministry said, saying this was partly due to a gradual global decline in international marriage that has been seen since 2005.

The ministry said that economic growth in Southeast Asia and China also had a role in reducing the number of naturalized Taiwanese citizens, as fewer women from the region were choosing to marry abroad.

Latest data show that the home countries of the new immigrants were nearly all concentrated in Southeast Asia.

In 2016, 96.8 percent of all the naturalized citizens were from Southeast Asia.

A trickle of immigration came from Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Germany and India.

The MOI pointed out that the nationality law had been revised in December 2016 to encourage foreign high-level professionals to become naturalized citizens.

Foreign high-level professionals can now become ROC citizens without having to give up their original citizenship, the MOI said.

Compared to the figures of 2015, the number of naturalized citizens from Vietnam saw the most significant drop (557 people), followed by Myanmar (31 people).

But those from Thailand registered a rise of 248 people, the highest growth among all nationalities, followed by the Philippines' increase of 32 people, said the MOI.

In terms of gender, 3,050, or 93.79 percent of all the naturalized citizens last year were women, far higher than the number of men at 202, or 6.21 percent.

Most of the women (93.25 percent) were married to R.O.C. citizens, but only 52.97 percent of the men became naturalized citizens through marriage.

Sixty-four minors, or 1,97 percent, whose parents or adoptive parents were R.O.C. citizens, became naturalized citizens.

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