Taiwan extends relaxed punishment for foreigners who overstay visa

Foreigners who self report will face a reduced fine of NT$2,000

NIA press conference in Taipei

NIA press conference in Taipei (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Foreigners who self report that they have overstayed their visa will face a reduced penalty until June 30, 2019, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) announced today.

The reduced penalty sees the fine dropped from NT$10,000 (US$325) to NT$2,000, and includes a ban on re-entry to Taiwan.

The voluntary self-report mechanism was first introduced in 2011, and allows for people who overstayed their visa to receive preferential treatment for self-reporting. Under this mechanism, individuals can call or visit a NIA branch to turn themselves in.

In October 2018, there were 88,000 people in Taiwan living on an expired visa, according to statistics from the NIA. Since the mechanism was introduced, over 800 people have self-reported.

NIA head Chiu Feng-kuang (邱豐光) said that the self-report mechanism hopes to improve social security, reduce risks for those working illegally, and to help maintain the human rights of Taiwan’s workforce.

Chiu added that the NIA will increase its efforts to clamp-down on illegal workers, and pursue those in breach of the law rigorously.

The NIA said the group of 152 Vietnamese tourists who went missing upon arrival to Taiwan in December 2018 are exempt from this scheme.

Chiu said that at 10.00 a.m. on Jan. 6, 35 of the tourists were in custody, while 113 were still on the run. The NIA has established an NT$4,000 reward for information which leads to an arrest.