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February 1997, Volume 4, Number 2

Taiwan Develops Immigration Laws

The Taiwan government continues to work on immigration laws that would grant permanent residence to foreign nationals who have lived in Taiwan for at least five years. Current law grants maximum three-year residence permits.

Taiwan is cracking down on foreign brides, arguing that ethnically mixed marriages are prone to collapse and that too many foreign brides reduce Taiwanese women's marriage prospects.

On January 27, the Taiwan government agreed to increase the number of mainland Chinese who can remain in the country with their Taiwanese spouses from 1,080 in 1996 to 1,800 for 1997. The cabinet also increased to 60 the number of Chinese authorized to settle in Taiwan in 1997 for political considerations or special achievement in their respective fields, up from 40 for 1996.

In 1995, 52,000 foreigners became Taiwan nationals and 78,000 Taiwanese emigrated. Almost 80 percent of the foreigners in Taiwan are in the labor force.

Some 16,017 illegal mainland migrants were apprehended in Taiwan between July 1992 and December 1996, including 2,507 who were apprehended two or more times. Since 1992, Taiwan has spent an average NT$150 million (US$ 5.5 million) annually on illegal mainland aliens; it takes an average four months to return each Chinese alien.

According to the migrants, smugglers charge about 30,000 yuan (US$3,650) to be smuggled into Taiwan.

Taiwan's Council for Labor Affairs announced plans to extend the manufacturing-oriented Labor Standards Law to services such as banking on July 1, 1997, a move that banks say would make them not competitive by requiring overtime and night pay. Under the Labor Standards Law, workers cannot work more than 48 hours per week, men are restricted to a maximum 46 hours of overtime each month and women to a maximum 24 hours. Women are also prohibited from working between 10 pm and 6 am.


"Taiwan to allow more Chinese to settle down," Agence France Presse, January 30, 1997. Sofia Wu, "Illegal mainland immigrants heavy burden for Taiwan," Central News Agency, January 28, 1997.