Under existing rules, qualified foreign nationals are required to stay in Taiwan for no less than 183 days each year for a period of five consecutive years in order to obtain permanent residency. The proposed new rules will ease the period of stay in Taiwan by consulting regulations adopted by neighboring nations. This will make it more flexible for qualified foreigners to enter, live in or leave Taiwan.
Another step is to grant the same permanent residency status to the spouses and children of qualified foreign nationals who hold a permanent alien resident certificate (ARC), signifying the right to remain indefinitely. There are presently 6,000 foreign nationals with permanent ARCs in Taiwan, said immigration officials.
The period for foreign nationals to apply for ARCs after getting a residency permit will be doubled to 30 days from the current 15 days.
The new rules will define people eligible for permanent ARCs in the major categories of investment immigrants who have made investment up to a certain level in Taiwan, professionals with special skills and individuals who made "special contributions" to Taiwan. Foreign nationals will be given permanent ARCs after passing screening by the interior ministry.
In addition, the current regulations governing the return of citizens of the Republic of China (Taiwan) will be relaxed. This will benefit children born as ROC citizens abroad as the age limit will be removed. Children born overseas whose father or mother are ROC citizens will be able to directly apply for permanent residency in Taiwan with no age restrictions. Under the existing rules, such offspring over the age of 20 are required to stay for one full year in Taiwan before applying for permanent residency.
All ROC citizens who have stayed for a long period overseas with no household registration in Taiwan can directly apply for permanent residency by simply presenting their ROC passport, according to the proposed regulations.
If these proposals pass, those of us born abroad to ROC ID card holders will be able to obtain an ID card immediately without having to reside in Taiwan with a TARC for 1 continuous year, 270 days a year for 3 years, or 183 days a year for 5 years. This is a positive development: allowing overseas born children to exercise the same citizenship rights as their parents is in line with jus sanguinis followed by most other countries.
But does automatic eligibility for household registration also start the clock ticking for eligibility for the draft (i.e. two calendar years of 183 days each in Taiwan = hauled over to some school in the mountains for a year of "alternative military service")?