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2,300 overstayers surrender since amnesty program started Jan. 1

2019/01/24 15:44:55

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) More than 2,300 overstaying foreign nationals have voluntarily presented themselves to the authorities since the launch of an overstayers voluntary departure program Jan. 1, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Thursday.

From Jan. 1-22 this year, more than 2,300 overstayers surrendered voluntarily, compared with more than 900 who turned themselves in during the same period of last year, according to NIA data.

The program, coupled with the approach of the Lunar New Year holiday, provides incentives for many homesick overstayers to surrender to the authorities, the NIA added.

Under the six-month program, overstaying aliens who surrender voluntarily will receive reduced punishment -- no detention, a maximum overstay fine of NT$2,000 (US$64) and a shorter re-entry ban.

However, overstayers who are arrested will face heavier punishment, including a penalty of up to NT$10,000 and a longer re-entry ban.

The agency urged citizens to report illegal employers and agencies and to encourage any overstayers they know to surrender voluntarily.

The amnesty program followed a recent case in which 148 Vietnamese tourists ran away after entering Taiwan in four tour groups in late December.

As of Monday, 60 of them remained unaccounted for, according to the NIA.

These Vietnamese visitors, however, are not eligible to take advantage of the amnesty program.

(By Huang Li-yun and Chung Yu-chen)