TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As part of a new policy that went into effect last year, nine foreign professionals yesterday (April 17) were granted special permission to become naturalized as Taiwanese citizens, while not having to relinquish their original nationality, announced the Ministry of the Interior (MOI).
At its fourth meeting to review applications by professionals to become naturalized Taiwanese citizens held yesterday, the MOI selected nine new recipients, bringing the total number of foreign nationals accepted under the new program to 32.
In March of last year, the ministry promulgated a regulation as a supplement to an amendment to the Nationality Act (國籍法) passed by the legislature in December of 2016 which gave special exemptions and extensions for the requirement that foreign national to renounce their citizenship before being eligible to become a Taiwanese citizen. Previously, all foreign nationals had to first give up their original citizenship before they could be approved as Taiwanese nationals, a procedure which might turn them into stateless persons if the Taiwanese authorities rejected their applications.
During a press conference yesterday evening, the MOI said that the nine professionals come from a cross section of disciplines, including education, economics, medicine and democratic human rights. Among them, five are in the field of education, including an Iranian associate professor who has a background in electrical and computer engineering and is internationally renown for inventing an "emotional" robot.
Also among those involved in academia is an American biotechnology professor who specializes in artificial intelligence and biomedical imaging and professor of opera studies from New Zealand.
Another academic on the list is an American professor of history has been praised for his book titled "Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking." A Malaysian professor of Southeast Asian politics and education who has been teaching in Taiwan for a long time has also been selected for outstanding achievements in the field of academic research and making an outstanding contribution to education in Taiwan.
The four other recipients included a man from Finland who specialized in information and communications technology and has become an international program design expert. Also among the four was a Swiss woman who received an EMBA from the Lausanne Institute of International Management in Switzerland and has become specialized in marketing strategy.
Finishing out the list were a Malaysian ophthalmologist who has been practicing in Taiwan for 10 years and an American man who has been working to safeguard the rights and interests of foreign spouses and related human rights.
Once these nine professionals become naturalized, they will have the right to participate in political affairs and enjoy various social benefits. The MOI said that it hopes that they can help create a new future in the development of education, economics, medicine and science and technology in Taiwan and it looks forward to more foreign talents who have excellent specialties in various fields.