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Cabinet re-approves draft amendments to ease naturalization rules

02/29/2024 03:17 PM
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The Executive Yuan. CNA file photo
The Executive Yuan. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 29 (CNA) Taiwan's Cabinet on Thursday approved draft amendments to the Nationality Act to ease residency requirements for some foreign professionals applying for naturalization and to allow social welfare government agencies to apply for naturalization on behalf of stateless children residing in Taiwan.

The proposed amendments were previously passed by the Cabinet last September but had to be re-approved and re-submitted because of the new Legislative term that began on Feb. 1.

According to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), the draft amendments will help improve retention of professional talent by cutting the required period of residence for "foreign high-level professionals" (外國高級專業人才) applying for citizenship from the current three continuous years, which is defined as being present in the country for at least 183 days each year.

Under the proposed changes, the required period of residence would be shortened to two continuous years, or a legal stay of more than five consecutive years for those who do not meet the 183 days per year requirement, the ministry said.

The MOI has previously said the changes will aid Taiwan's efforts to recruit and naturalize foreign basketball players to play on its national team -- a longtime demand of the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association.

Meanwhile, to better protect children's rights, the draft bill includes a new provision that allows social welfare authorities or institutions that act as guardians of stateless children to apply for Republic of China (ROC) nationality on their behalf, the MOI said.

Under the existing law, only adoptive parents of stateless persons who are unmarried minors can apply for ROC naturalization on their behalf, if at least one of the parents is a ROC citizen, according to the MOI.

In addition, as Taiwan has amended its Civil Code to lower the legal age of majority -- the threshold of adulthood -- from 20 to 18, the draft bill also changes the wording "unmarried minors" in the existing Nationality Act to "unmarried and under the age of 18."

(By Chen Chun-hua, Evelyn Kao and Matthew Mazzetta)

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