Taiwan delays permanent residency plan for HK, Macau professionals
Taipei, April 29 (CNA) Taiwan has put on hold a plan to allow professionals from Hong Kong and Macau to apply for permanent residency after at least five years on a work permit, an official said Friday, citing security concerns.
The new immigration rule, which was set to be implemented on May 1, requires further review and public discussion, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) spokesperson Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) told CNA in a telephone interview.
He said lawmakers had expressed concern over national security issues, most recently at a legislative hearing on Thursday.
During the hearing, Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) of the New Power Party asked if the government had a mechanism to prevent hostile infiltration by individuals who are granted permanent residency in Taiwan under the new rule.
In response, MAC Deputy Minister Lee Li-jane (李麗珍) said that such individuals would be monitored jointly by the MAC, the Ministry of the Interior, the National Development Council and the National Security Bureau.
Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said at the hearing that while he supported the plan to attract more overseas talent and help Hong Kong democracy advocates, Taiwan has to be cautious in the face of the growing threat posed by China.
The residency policy was announced on April 21 by Chiu, who expected the National Immigration Agency would formally introduced a regulation amended for the policy on May 1 with immediate effect.
Under the revisions, Taiwan's current permanent residency policy regarding people from Hong Kong and Macau was to be expanded to cover those who have held a work permit in Taiwan for at least five years and had earned at least double the minimum wage in the fifth year.
Currently, people from Hong Kong and Macau are eligible to apply for permanent residency if they have relatives in Taiwan, make government-recognized contributions, are entrepreneurs in certain innovative businesses, or have specific skills, technologies or experience.
Hong and Macau residents who graduate from Taiwan universities can also apply for permanent residence after five years on a work permit, with monthly earnings of at least double the minimum wage in the fifth year, according to the current regulations.
Chiu said Friday that while the new expanded plan had been discussed with lawmakers and civic groups, the government has decided to delay its implementation, pending further consultations and a wider consensus.
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