News But No News (about Taiwan immigration)

Update on recurring immigration-related awakenings

I hope to avoid the impression that I use this blog only to lament the government’s dance around square one in relation to immigration reform. So please also pay attention to other posts, including some poems  – which I hope to get translated into Chinese one of these days.

About those notorious immigration issues: a lot of talk (and some activity) occurred recently in the wake of my letter to The Taipei Times and especially of a shorter version which was published in Chinese language in United Daily News. Follow-up articles were written, other families’ cases have appeared in newspapers, more research is being done – so they assure me.

In government circles especially my family’s case is being tossed around in discussions. One lawmaker recently used the term ‘ridiculous’ in relation to the fact that these kinds of cases still haven’t been resolved after er… more than a decade at least.

For those who only read this article and will go no further: I came with my family to Taiwan in 1998 as a software developer, worked for a number of companies in the IT business, changed careers twice and am still moving on. I received permanent residency rights in 2006 but my family remains on temporary visas without the right to do much more than shopping – but we have health insurance, the kids go to or by now graduated from school or university. However, while I now enjoy permanent residency rights (APRC) and can choose my work freely my wife and kids remain visitors on steroids without the right to work, not even part time. For more details and why this is wrong you’d really have to go and read that other article now.

There is no doubt that the implications, in all detail, are increasingly well understood within the government – ruling and opposition parties alike. That is certainly encouraging. Still, the fact that terms like ‘high-level foreigners’ keep appearing in official and unofficial notes leads me to conclude that (for now) fundamental changes are NOT in the pipeline. High-level foreigners, those that invest 10 million NT or more, or others with relevant, high-level contributions to Taiwan (a Nobel Prize in a technical field helps a lot) already find their applications fast-tracked for approval – keyword ‘Plum Blossom Card.’

However, you who read this likely won’t belong to the ‘high-level’ category. You probably have a university degree or two or a few years of work experience (proof in writing please) outside Taiwan.  You consider moving here to do a decent, down to earth job working hard to provide for your family, pay taxes, keep the laws. That doesn’t make you ‘high-level’ though but rather what… a ‘middle-level’ or ‘low-level’ professional? Something like that. So if you want to bring your family and stay for longer – this kind of decision tends to sneak up on you once you are here for a few years – you will still have only a choice between a) panhandle in front of the legislature and immigration agency or b) get on with your life and make the best of what you got (recommended.) There’s a c: hope for the best, always a good thing.

Time is up.

Please read some of the poems now.

Or the short piece by Franz Kafka: “Before the Law.”




(And no, we’re not taking orders for buttons and T-shirts with this beautiful logo. It’s here just so that Facebook et. al. can pull a picture from the article.)



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