Divorced mothers of new immigrant children can stay in Taiwan: NIA

In wake of Trump family separations, NIA reiterates that divorced new immigrant mothers can stay with children in Taiwan

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The National Immigration Agency (NIA) on Monday evening (July 2) reiterated that new immigrant mothers who have children born in Taiwan but have been divorced can apply to stay in the country, even if they were not awarded custody, in order to safeguard the interests of the minors.

In the wake of recent separations of undocumented immigrants from their children by the Trump administration in the U.S, the NIA on Monday reiterated that an amendment was made to Article 31 of the Immigration Act in 2007 to better protect the rights and interests of foreign spouses after a divorce, including the custody of children after a divorce and divorces of couples with minors that took place due to domestic violence. 

In the past, fathers were traditionally given custody of children by the court after a divorce, as they were deemed to be more financially fit to provide for them. However, in recent years, in the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the degree of to which the children's care is handled by their mothers, custody is increasingly being awarded to new immigrant mothers. 

In the case of new immigrant mothers who are divorced and do not receive custody of their children, they are often faced with the possibility of being forced to leave the country. Before deportation is considered, the NIA will first hold a review meeting to examine the facts regarding the child bearing and child rearing by the immigrant, in order to protect the right of mothers to have visitation of their children. 

Judgments will be based on sub paragraph 4 of Article 31 of the Immigration Act, which is one of the circumstances in which an alien may be permitted to reside continually:

"Is suffered from family violence and divorced after the judgment of the court. The alien also has his/her own minor children with registered permanent residence in the Taiwan Area. subject to court divorce."

If a foreign spouse had already returned to their country after a divorce, the NIA said that if they had previously been legally residing in Taiwan and had been in fact caring for their children or had been in regular contact with them, they can apply for a visitor visa with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Once in the country, they can then apply with the NIA for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC).

For more information, visit the NIA website or call the NIA hotline at 0800-024-111. It provides Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, and Cambodian language service, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, while Chinese, Japanese and English service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.