TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The process to apply for Taiwanese citizenship for the 90 foreigners who hold "Plum Blossom" (梅花卡) Alien Permanent Resident Certificates (APRC) has been simplified as of this month, reported CNA.
In order to attract foreign professionals to stay in Taiwan, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) at a press conference on Sept. 26 announced that the process to apply for Taiwanese citizenship will be simplified for senior professionals who have obtained a Plum Blossom APRC. Starting this month, the 90 Plum Blossom APRC holders who have yet to apply for citizenship, will no longer be required to obtain a recommendation from the agency managing the industry, instead a letter from their employer sent to the National Immigration Agency (NIA) will suffice.
Hua pointed out that if an applicant with the Plum Blossom card had received approval, the naturalization process can begin without the need for an additional review.
The Plum Blossom Card is awarded to foreigners that have been recognized for their special contributions to Taiwan, and is one of Taiwanese government’s measures to retain top international talent in the country.
Department of Household Registration Deputy Secretary Cheng Hsin-wei (鄭信偉) explained that previously, if foreigners wanted to apply for a Plum Blossom card, they would first have to apply for a review meeting to be held by the NIA. Then, if they wanted to apply for naturalization, they would have to repeat the process and apply for a review meeting to be held by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), making the whole process repetitive and inconvenient.
Starting this month, the Household Registration Office and the NIA have begun promoting cross-agency cooperation to provide one-stop services. Foreign cardholders can now apply for naturalization, residence or resumption of nationality, and settlement in the household office, with no need to travel back and forth between the Household Registration Office and NIA.
According to the MOI, 59 foreign professionals have received Taiwanese citizenship without having to relinquish their original nationality, three of whom held Plum Blossom cards.
Lee Ming-fang (李明芳), Commissioner of the NIA, said that there are three special conditions in which a Plum Blossom card can be applied for, including, "special awards," "specialized professionals," and "outstanding contributions." Lee said the advantage is that applicants do not need to live in Taiwan for at least five years to apply for permanent residence, and spouses and children can be included.
In addition, card holders can apply with the Ministry of Labor for an open-ended work permit and freely apply for jobs, without the need for employers to apply on their behalf.
In the photo at the top, NIA Director Lydia Huang (黃齡玉) presents Indian American Terence Rodrigues with the Plum Blossom card in March of this year.