Rules over nationalization of foreign spouses relaxed

The China Post news staff

The Ministry of Interior (MOI) will move to relax the rules in the Nationality Act to allow foreign spouses whose husbands or wives have died or who are divorced but still have to independently raise their underage children to apply for nationalization, according to MOI officials. The relaxation measure is designed to intensify the protection of human rights in accordance with the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

So far, quite a few foreign spouses have been repatriated back to their home countries and separated from their children after becoming divorcees or following the death of their spouse, due to their failure in obtaining R.O.C.

The MOI has completed draft amendments to the Nationality Act, and already submitted them to the Legislative Yuan for screening and ratification.

Among the amendments is that foreigners will be nationalized first, and then required to offer documentation as evidence of loss of their original nationality; but their nationality will be revoked if they fail to offer the said documentation.

Meanwhile, MOI statistics showed that the number of foreigners nationalized as citizens of the R.O.C. in 2010 showed a sharp decline of 21.9 percent from 2009, due mainly to the fact that the number of marriages between Taiwanese and foreigners has been on the decline since 2005, making the number of foreign spouses qualifying for nationalization decrease steadily.

The same tallies showed that women foreigners nationalized accounted for 97.78 percent of those who obtain R.O.C. nationality in 2010, compared to only 2.22 percent for men.

By contrast, women accounted for 56.92 percent of those who lost their R.O.C. nationality in 2010, compared to 43.08 percent for men. Those who were nationalized as a result of becoming spouses of R.O.C. nationals commanded 96.5 percent of the total number of foreigners nationalized in 2010.

The same tallies also indicated that up to 76.53 percent of foreign spouses nationalized came from Vietnam, followed, in declining order, by Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar. In total, those from Southeast Asia accounted for 99 percent of foreigners obtaining R.O.C. nationality in 2010.