Taiwan's "Bad Visa Policies"

Marc Plumb has posted the text of a letter that showed up in the Taipei Times about a month ago on his blog Initechnology. It seems to have caught a lot of the eye of many people:


Taiwan's natuaralization policies seem even more out of whack, especially when we consider how many locals take advantage of generous immigration policies offered by New Zealand, Australia, the US or Canada. A look at the statistics speaks to this.

According to Taiwan's census, 326,000 Taiwanese have emigrated in the past ten years. In the US alone, there are 2,879,636 Chinese people (US Bureau of Census, 2003). Here are the naturalization stats for Taiwanese in that country over the past ten years:

Naturalization of Taiwanese in the US:
2005 -8,295

During this same period, only 11 Americans have managed to be naturalized in Taiwan.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

When I wrote this letter to the Taipei Times, I was (and still am) steaming mad at the fact Taiwan Immigration blackmarked me just for 1 day overstay. FWIW: I was at the airport on my day to leave, but I was not allowed to get on my flight because there was some computer error in the booking.

Unfortunately, I couldn't buy a new ticket right away because of another racist, assine policy...My bank would not renew my credit card last month because I don't have a working permit anymore. I've used this bank for over 10 years and have outstanding credit (over NT$1million used on my card throughout the years, never once missed a payment). It just happened to be an off-day too, my travel agent was closed and I couldn't call anyone to rebook. So basically, I was S.O.L. The very next day I got the first flight out. In fact I wasn't even 1 day late, only about 14 hours overstay not that it matters.

Now I can't come back to Taiwan for 1 year when my visa expires in April. This really sucks because my life is here. My girlfriend is here, my business, my apartment, all my business and social friends, etc. I have to give it all up because of a ticketing error that was not even my fault. Damn, it just makes me so mad. The idiot airport police didn't help, they practically laughed at my situation and basically said fu#k you.

This is my 20th year coming to Taiwan(living here for 16). I never once had any trouble. In fact, during all my time here, I've gone out of my way many, many times to try and help make Taiwan a better place. I've been successful in business too - not just for myself, but for my Taiwan partners as well. On top of that, I've paid all my taxes and put dollars back into the local economy.

I do believe I have proven myself to be a decent, honest, caring person that Taiwan should be glad to have living here. Not many foreigners decide to give up their previous quality of life to live here. Your statistics show how many Taiwanese want to leave, but how many foreigners want to come? Hardly any. Why do they make it so difficult for us? It just doesn't make sense. Ah, but to them, all foreigners are a bunch of drunk, uneducated, womanizing, barbarians.

At this point in my life, I just give up. I am sick of the way the Taiwanese gov't treats foreigners.

Rich said...

Where are you getting the stats for naturalized Americans? What about other countries?

Patrick said...

The statistics are available at the Ministry of the Interior's Dept. of Statistics: http://www.moi.gov.tw/stat/english/index.asp
There are five categories for naturalization of Western individuals: America, Germany, Italy, Austria and Other.

Prince Roy said...

but wait, there's more: your figures for Taiwanese who naturalize in the US don't include the number of babies born to Taiwanese women in the US each year, thus creating an 'anchor' in the US for the parents and siblings of the US child. The number of women who travel to the US as 'tourists' on tourist visas just so they can have their baby in the US (usually in the San Gabriel Valley) may number well over 1000 per year.

Patrick said...

That's a good point; I have met several people here in Taiwan who have done that (and it seems to me that Chen Jr. and wife were trying to do the same in NY).

Citizenship in the US is a birth right. In Taiwan, it's supposed to be conferred by the one of the parents (seems to be more likely based on ethnicity). There are many babies born in Taiwan to Western parents that do not have citizenship. When I mention this to Taiwanese, they are surprised, like it's never occured to them.

Anonymous said...

I will not rest until 'chinese culture' is percieved to be roughly equivilent to ancient egyptian, hellenic or roman culture...an important step, but pretty damn scary in a modern context.

Rich said...

NPR covered new immigration law in Virginia Feb 1 on Morning Edition. It will be illegal to assist illegal immigrants, even if that is to take them to the hospital or give them a handout on the street, in a soup kitchen, an so on.

Patrick Cowsill said...

I actually listened to that program last week. I just looked it up: "Immigration Battle Moves to State Legislatures," at


I think that they are still debating this piece of legislation in Virginia however. My point is not that immigration policies are great in the US (they are not) but rather that they are much better than those in Taiwan (they are).

Two things stick out for me here. First, that a lot of Taiwanese take advantage of generous immigration policies of other countries. At the same time, Taiwan is not willing to extend the same courtesies to immigrants coming to Taiwan. Second, Taiwan's government likes to talk a lot about reciprocity. But it is just talk.

Patrick Cowsill said...


That's weird.

Nice blog though. Is that a pic of Chiang Kai-shek at the top?