Taiwan to relax rules on residency of foreign nationals’ children

The Taiwan government said a special act is being drafted to ease rules on residency of foreign nationals and their children in response to the criticism sparked by a letter from a German who has been working as a software engineer in Taiwan for 18 years but whose children were all forced to work outside Taiwan after growing up in the island country due to the tight rules against foreign nationals.

Chen Tain-jy, head of the National Development Council, mentioned the draft measure Friday during a meeting with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, saying that the government is drafting a special act to address the complex issues encountered by foreign nationals in terms of employment, insurance, retirement, and the residency of their children in the country.

Chen added that the draft measure will be published by the end of the year for public review and comment, and will be sent to the Legislature for another review after having reached consensus.

On the same day, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), in response to the case, explained that children after the age of 20 of foreign nationals working in Taiwan can apply for an extension of residency twice for up to six years altogether, according to the passed amendment of the law, while the ministry is also considering to extend the duration of absence from Taiwan to five years for foreign nationals to revoke permanent residency status.

Ralph Jensen, a German engineer who is now living in Kaohsiung, said in a letter to the United Daily News on Thursday that he has permanent residency in Taiwan but his children are not entitled to permanent residence after the age of 20 despite being born in Taiwan. His family is consequently being forced to live apart.

Jensen said his children obtain only a Joining Family Resident Visa (JFRV), but if they want to continue to live and work in Taiwan, they are subject to current rigid requirements with either a point system or a higher minimum salary requirement set for foreign nationals.

The minimum monthly salary stands at NT$47,971 for foreign professional workers. For foreigners and overseas Chinese looking to stay and work in Taiwan after graduating from local universities, employment is governed by both a points system and a minimum salary requirement of NT$37,619.