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China Daily Website

Taiwan may ease rules for mainland spouses

Updated: 2012-11-09 11:06
( Xinhua)

TAIPEI - Proposals have been passed in Taiwan reducing the minimum time a mainland spouse of a local resident has to wait to qualify for the island's identification card.

The proposal was passed by Taiwan's executive body authority, or the "Executive Yuan," on Thursday but is subject to approval by the island's legislative authority body, or the "Legislative Yuan."

Under the proposed amendment to the act governing relations of people from the mainland and Taiwan, the minimum time mainland spouses can become permanent residents on the island will be reduced from six to four years.

The proposal, if adopted, will benefit an estimated 20,000 mainland spouses.

The amendment aims to unify regulations. Currently, local residents' spouses from other countries enjoy favorable treatment than those from the mainland.

Under Taiwan's current regulations, local residents' mainland spouses, after marriage, can apply to visit the island for a "reunion" with their husbands or wives in Taiwan.

While being in Taiwan, they have to spend at least four years "staying with family members" and another two years as "long-term residents" before they can qualify for permanent residence and local "identification cards."

In each of those six years, mainland spouses have to spend at least 183 days living in Taiwan.

According to the proposal, the minimum time required of mainland spouses "staying with family members" will be reduced from four to three years, while the time as "long-time residents" will also be cut by one year.

The proposal also stipulates that the maximum time required of mainland spouses to qualify for local identification cards will be eight years.

Under the proposal, in each of the first three years when mainland spouses "staying with their family members" in Taiwan, they have to spend at least 183 days living on the island.

After those three years, the quickest way of gaining a local identification card is to spend at least 335 days of a year living in Taiwan as "long-term residents."

They can also choose to spend at least 270 days of a year living in Taiwan for two years, or spend at least 183 days of a year living on the island for five years.

The proposal will mean local residents' spouses from the mainland and other countries will receive the same treatment.

Statistics showed that the total number of local residents' spouses from outside Taiwan stood at 460,000 by the end of September. Mainland spouses were about 300,000 and more than 90,000 of them had already gained local identification cards.

Sean Chen, chief of Taiwan's "Executive Yuan," called on relevant departments of the Taiwan authorities to work together to pass the proposal.