Taiwan new immigrants propose anti-discrimination laws

New immigrants claim they often feel like second-class citizens in Taiwan


Legislator Lin Li-Chan (left)

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A group of new immigrants has made a number of proposals to Taiwanese legislative bodies after declaring they feel like second-class citizens in the country.

Kuomintang legislator Lin Li-Chan (林麗蟬) held a press conference on the matter yesterday (Nov. 9). More than 50 new immigrant organizations attended, including Taiwan New Residents Development Association, China New Family, and the Pearl S. Buck Foundation.

Attendees expressed hope the government would find a way to stop them being regarded as second-class citizens.

One of the proposals is that Taiwan adopts anti-discrimination laws. The National Immigration Agency claimed Taiwan has ratified the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), meaning anti-discrimination acts already exist within domestic law. The Ministry of Justice is reviewing whether it is necessary to adopt special laws.

The Immigration Agency further commented in a press release yesterday evening (Nov. 8) that information presented about cases of discrimination was biased or incomplete. The agency itself has drafted an anti-discrimination plan and conducts regular inspections, and Taiwan is regularly subjected to international reviews on its adherence to the convention, according to representatives.

Furthermore, they said, the government has implemented a number of measures for the betterment of new immigrant welfare, including care services and a development fund, to make up for the current shortage of formal social welfare services offered to new residents.

With regards to language barriers, the Immigration Agency points out the government has established a special hotline, offering information services in seven different languages. The agency said they regularly recruit new residents as interpreters to assist at service centers and in interviewing newly arrived immigrants.

Amid concerns the government’s unsettled budgets might impact the rights of new immigrants with regards to the development fund and other services, the Ministry of the Interior pledged a budget of NT$320 million has been dedicated to new immigrant services for next year. The ministry emphasized that the budget is always handled in accordance with regulations.