Two groups of applicants from Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines will be required, starting new year, to submit a fingerprint record as part of their applications for visas to stay in Taiwan for more than six months, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday.
The new requirement will apply only to workers and spouses from the four Southeast Asian countries who are seeking resident visas, which allow stays of six months or longer, said Thomas Chen, director general of the MOFA’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.
The rule, part of the ministry’s efforts to curb identity fraud, is expected to affect thousands of nationals from the four countries who are either looking to work in Taiwan or are married to Taiwanese citizens.
“Our main concern is that the issue of identity cards is not a scrupulous process in these countries,” Chen said.
There have been cases in which nationals of these countries have re-applied under a different name when their Taiwan visas expired, he said.
For example, a laborer could fly back to his country, change his name and apply again under a different ID, he said.
“We have difficulty tracking down such cases because the passport would be still valid, but the identity would have been changed,” he said.
Asked to give an estimate of the number of identity fraud cases involving Southeast Asians, Chen said that 15 to 30 percent of spouses from these countries are denied visas because of “problems detected during interviews.”
Asked whether the MOFA had consulted any human rights group on the measure, Chen said it is a matter of”national sovereignty” and that in the near future the requirement might be extended to nationals of other countries.
Labor brokers have been notified and an announcement will be made once it decided when exactly the measure will take effect, he said.