TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As part of a new policy that went into effect last year, American ICRT broadcaster Jeffrey Mindich (閔傑輝) is among 18 foreign professionals who have just officially received Taiwanese citizenship, without having to relinquish the citizenship of their country of origin, announced the Ministry of Interior (MOI) at a press conference on Tuesday (June 26).
At its fifth meeting to review applications by professionals to become naturalized Taiwanese citizens held on Tuesday, the MOI selected nine new recipients, bringing the total number of foreign nationals accepted under the new program to 50. The 18 professionals, the largest number to be approved in one meeting thus far, came from a wide range of disciplines, including three from economics, 10 from education, three from the arts and two from other fields.
According to the MOI, Mindich was selected for his work as a broadcaster on ICRT and Formosa Television (民視), promotion of Taiwanese culture, and winning a Golden Bell award.
Also among those who became naturalized Taiwanese included a Thai woman, who selects Taiwan tour guides; an Indonesian, who has mastered Chinese, English and Indonesian and participates in land planning surveys; an Australian, who works in the research and development of wireless communication products; and an American editor and publisher surnamed Smith, who edited the 1965 book "Formosa Betrayed."
Other newly naturalized citizens include a German professor whose research on Kant has been translated into Korean and Chinese, and a South African contemporary Chinese ink painter, whose exhibitions promote art education in Taiwan.
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.