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Taiwan to start 5-month amnesty program for overstaying foreigners

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Overstaying foreign nationals will soon have the chance to rectify their status in the country.

Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency (NIA) said the government is working on starting a five-month amnesty program for overstaying foreign nationals.

This will allow them to pay smaller fines once they report to immigration authorities on a given period.

The NIA said the number of overstaying foreigners has increased to 88,000 as of October 2018.

To address this problem, the government will introduce a five-year amnesty program which will start from February to June.

Within the said period, overstays will be subject to a reduced fine and shortened re-entry ban without mandatory detention.

Meanwhile, the maximum penalty will be NT$2,000 (P3,400) and a re-entry ban compared with detention.

Those who do not voluntarily contact immigration authorities will face a maximum fine of NT$10,000 (P17,000) and an entry ban of eight years.

According to the NIA, the largest number of overstaying foreign nationals are mostly composed of migrant workers, and their total has reached 51, 982 as of November 2018.

Of the said number, a total of 24, 267 are Vietnamese and 24, 176 are Indonesians.

Likewise, the NIA calls on overstaying foreigners to report to authorities all brokers and employers in Taiwan who hire illegal workers so that the government can take legal actions against them.

Overstaying foreign nationals and those who want  to report brokers and employers hiring illegal workers may call the agency’s toll-free hotline 0800-024-881. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Amiel Pascual)

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Taiwan President calls for int’l support to defend democracy amid threats from China

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, January 7th, 2019


Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. (Photo courtesy: Photoville Taiwan | UNTV News and Rescue)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – President Tsai Ing-wen calls for international support to defend democracy as it faces renewed threats from China particularly it’s “one country, two systems” policy.

“We (Taiwan) are an important and loyal supporter of all internationally important values. So when a country like us faces difficulties and threats, we hope that the international community takes it seriously and can voice support and help us,” she said in a press conference with foreign media including UNTV News in Taipei on Saturday (January 5).

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen during a briefing with foreign media on Saturday (January 5). (Photo courtesy: Office of the President of Taiwan)

Tsai also calls on all parties in Taiwan to rally behind her and fulfill the wishes of the Taiwan people.

She noted that such a threat from China can also happen to any other countries if the international community will just watch and not extend its help to Taiwan.

“When a country that does its best to practice democracy and shared international values face threats and violation, I believe that this is also a violation of democracy and those values. If the international community does not speak out for and support Taiwan while it is facing such a situation, we have to ask which country will be next.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping insists that Taiwan was part of China and offered reunification to its people and pressed the implementation of the “one country, two systems” framework.

Tsai, a pro-independence president, said Taiwan cannot accept such political arrangement with China as it will bring them under Xi’s rule and it will only result to further misunderstandings.

Instead of putting much pressure to Taiwan on territorial matters, Tsai said Xi should pay attention to issues that will affect both countries neighbors such as the outbreak of African Swine Fever.

Taiwan became persistent in its quest for independence since Tsai took office in January 2016. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Amiel Pascual)

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Taiwan approves stringent measures to protect migrant workers’ rights

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Abusive employers will face up to 300,000 NT (P500,000) fine under the newly amended Employment Service Act.

Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan approved the measure on third reading in early November which prohibits employers from keeping the migrant worker’s passport or any identity document such as work permit without the consent of the person.

Under the amended law, any employer or employment agency proven to have abused the rights of migrant workers in the country will be sanctioned.

According to the Ministry of Labor, employers who are subject of complaints will be fined from 60,000NT (P100,000) up to 300,000NT (P500,000).

Meanwhile, for grave offenses such as sexual assault, human trafficking, physical abuse and homicide that have been reported within 24 hours from the time of the incident will incur the suspect a fine of 300,000NT to 1.5-M Taiwan dollars (P2M).

Apart from the high price of monetary penalty, brokers or agencies in question will also face revocation of permit to operate.

The said measures are in line with the government’s efforts to protect the rights of migrant workers whose roles have been vital in Taiwan’s economy.

Based on records of Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor, there are around 700,000 migrant workers in Taiwan as of 2018 with most numbers working in the manufacturing sector. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Amiel Pascual)

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Taiwan train crash kills 18 in deadliest rail tragedy in decades

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Rescuers tend to injured passengers after a train derailed in Yilan, Taiwan October 21, 2018. Military News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Eighteen people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan on Sunday, authorities said, in the island’s worst rail disaster in more than three decades.

Four carriages overturned in the crash, which occurred in Yilan County near the coast on a line popular among tourists when all eight cars ran off the tracks on a bend near a station, officials said.

It was unclear what caused the crash. As of 9:35 p.m. (1335 GMT), all 366 passengers onboard – including the dead and injured – had been evacuated or removed from the wreckage, the Taiwan Railways Administration said.

“The train was going very fast. I thought to myself: Why was it not slowing down on a curve?” 30-year-old Henry Tseng, who was onboard one of the overturned carriages and suffered eye injuries, told Reuters.

“I hit a wall when the car started to flip. Around five to six people were thrown out of the carriage door…There’s no time to think what happened. Everyone was in a rush to get out,” he added.

Hundreds of rescuers and military personnel worked through the wreckage with spotlights on Sunday night in search of survivors, with ambulances stationed nearby.

Rescue workers, some attending to injured people at the scene, used cranes to lift the battered cars, some of which were lined in a zigzag pattern near the tracks.

“Check there, check there,” several rescuers shouted while lifting a deformed car with a crane to look for survivors. Some rescuers climbed onto the top of an overturned carriage which had hit a pole carrying electricity.

The official Central News Agency said the incident was the island’s deadliest rail tragedy since 30 were killed in a 1981 collision in northern Taiwan.

“It’s terrifying. I really did not know how it happened. After a scene of terror, the train flipped, the seats were broken and suitcases were all over the place,” a seventh-grader with the surname Yang told the news agency.

INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY
“We need to get some water in quickly,” a woman was seen shouting in a live broadcast on Facebook shortly after the crush in the late afternoon. Several passengers, who appeared to be suffering from minor injuries, were carried out from a deformed car by local villagers before rescuers arrived, the video showed.

“We will use all our strength and efforts for the rescue,” President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on her Facebook page.

An investigation was under way to find out the cause of the crash, Taiwan Railways Administration said. “The train was in pretty good condition,” its Deputy Chief Lu Chieh-Shen told a news conference.

An American citizen was injured. The authority was checking whether more foreigners were on board.

The derailment came weeks ahead of island-wide local elections that are being seen as a bellwether for Tsai’s ruling party’s performance in presidential elections due in 2020.

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu, Yimou Lee, Lee Kun Han and Taipei bureau; Editing by David Goodman, Dale Hudson and Kirsten Donovan

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