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Taiwan's Legislature passes amendments to retain foreign talent

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The Legislative Yuan on Tuesday passed several amendments aimed at improving professional talent retention in Taiwan by easing residency restrictions for foreign nationals and their spouses and children.

The amendments to the Immigration Act include provisions that extend permanent residence rights to spouses, minor children, and adult children with disabilities of foreign nationals who are high-level professionals, have won top professional awards, have made a significant contribution to Taiwan, or hold an investment visa.

Under the new rules, Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) holders will only need to spend an average of 183 days per year over the last five years in Taiwan to retain their permanent residency status, instead of the current 183 days each year for five years.

The amendments also extend the period foreign nationals have to apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) after their arrival in Taiwan from 15 to 30 days.

Another of the amendments makes all foreign nationals widowed or divorced by Taiwanese spouses eligible to apply for an ARC in order to visit or take care of their minor children in Taiwan.

Currently, only foreign spouses who have been granted custody of their minor children are eligible to reside in Taiwan on these grounds.

The revisions also allow foreign nationals who divorce their Taiwanese spouse because of domestic abuse to remain in Taiwan if they have not remarried.

In addition, the amendments stipulate that overseas Republic of China (ROC) nationals can obtain household registration by continuously residing in Taiwan for at least 183 days per year for at least five years, reduced from the current seven.

Rules allowing overseas nationals to obtain household registration by being legally and continuously resident in Taiwan for one full year, or more than 270 days a year for at least two years, remain unchanged.

Also included in the amendments is a provision to dish out fines of NT$60,000 to NT$300,000 (US$1,960-US$9,802) to those who help hide or shelter foreign visa overstayers, as well as penalties of NT$200,000 to NT$1 million for facilitating the activities of foreign nationals who enter Taiwan on false pretenses.

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