Over 4,000 overstayers come forward under Taiwan’s amnesty program

File photo courtesy of the National Immigration Agency of an Indonesian woman that turned herself in in early June. (Photo courtesy of CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Over the past three months, more than 4,000 foreign nationals who had overstayed their visas in Taiwan have voluntarily reported to authorities, under an amnesty program launched by the government to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Thursday.

In the period April 1 to June 30, a total of 7,617 people with expired visas were identified by law enforcement agencies, and 4,443 of them were granted amnesty under the “Expanded Overstayers Voluntary Departure Program,” the NIA said.

The other 3,174 were found and detained by law enforcement, the NIA said in a press release.

Among the 7,617, Vietnamese and Indonesians made up the majority, at 2,075 and 1,519, respectively, the NIA said, adding that none of the overstayers had tested positive for COVID-19.

Under the amnesty program, which was launched in April to prevent the spread of COVID-19, those who voluntarily came forward will each be fined NT$2,000 (US$66.04) and deported with government assistance, although it is not yet clear when the deportations will be carried out.

For those who were picked up by law enforcement, the penalty is a maximum fine NT$10,000, deportation, and a re-entry ban of up to eight years, according to the NIA.