Letter: Naturalization Citizenship/Immigration Reform Must Happen For Taiwan to Become the Hub of Asia

To the Editor:

Did you know Taiwan is one of the few countries that require a foreign national wishing to be naturalized to renounce their birth citizenship? In other words Taiwan doesn’t allow dual citizenship for foreigners who become naturalized, but allows its own Taiwanese born citizens to hold dual citizenship. Why?

While the Executive Yuan did recently relax the rules for foreign spouses and potential naturalized foreigners, it’s still not enough. Far from it.  If Taiwan wants to grow to become the Silicon Valley of Asia then it must quickly evolve its immigration law to allow for many more foreign talents to come to Taiwan. As it stands, the current prospective immigration laws restrict any true growth. Your only exit strategy really is to get married or try your hand at citizenship after years of working.


Current Problems with Citizenship & Immigration

As it stands, the law no longer requires foreign spouses or foreign professionals to  renounce their citizenship before applying  for Taiwanese citizenship. However, eventually foreign nationals must renounce their birth citizenship (or any other passports) within 1 year of obtaining Taiwanese citizenship.

This is flawed for a few reasons, many which just don’t make sense in comparison to the grand scale of what Tsai Ing Wen’s vision is for Taiwan.

  1. Double Standard: Taiwan allows its born citizens the right to hold multiple citizenships without losing their Taiwanese passport. Taiwanese can go to the US and if granted, hold a US Passport AND Taiwanese Passport. The reverse is not true for an American citizen (except for those born to Taiwanese nationals). If an American, Canadian, or any other national wants to naturalize and become Taiwanese, they must renounce their citizenship.
  2. Limited Routes to Citizenship: Compared to the USA (arguably one of the hardest countries in the world to immigrate to), Taiwan has very limited paths to citizenship. Meanwhile the USA has nearly 30 different paths (and growing) to obtaining a citizenship, some which can skip the green card altogether.  In fiscal year 2015, USCIS naturalized 729,995 people
  1. Permanent Residency Required: Unless you’re getting married, you must obtain an APRC to apply for citizenship in most cases. Many other countries such as Japan do not require this.