Taiwan deports 268 illegal immigrants in May

268 illegal immigrants were repatriated in May under amnesty program

Vietnamese man (right) turning himself in. (NIA ph...

Vietnamese man (right) turning himself in. (NIA ph...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In the month of May, 268 illegal immigrants were deported to their home countries, the largest number in a single month since an amnesty program began at the start of the year, announced the National Immigration Agency on Wednesday (June 5).

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the NIA said that it has accelerated repatriations in order to enable immigrants to return to their home countries before the Dragon Boat Festival and as Ramadan ends and Muslim festival Eid al-Fitr begins. In the spirit of the Dragon Boat Festival, detainees at NIA's shelter in Taipei from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Malaysia were served zongzi, or rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves.

Under Taiwan's amnesty program, which runs until June 30, illegal immigrants who turn themselves in will only face a fine of NT$2,000 (US$63) and lighter re-entry ban, depending on the situation. Those who entered Taiwan on work visas and overstayed their visas for less than three years will not face a re-entry ban.

Foreign detainees making zongzi. (NIA photo)

In order to enable detainees in Taipei's shelter to return home for Dragon Boat Festival and for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, the NIA said that it had accelerated the repatriation process in April and May. In May alone, the NIA says that 268 people were "repatriated safely" representing a record high since the amnesty program started in January.

Those who overstayed their visas for more than three years but turn themselves in will have their re-entry ban halved. Those who entered Taiwan on a non-work visa but stayed for less than a year will not face a re-entry ban, while those who stayed for one to three years, will have their re-entry ban cut by one third, according to the NIA.

Once the amnesty program ends, the fine for illegally exceeding the period of a work visa will rise to NT$10,000 and re-entry bans will increase, with the maximum ban being 8 years, said the NIA.