Taiwan to start 5-month amnesty program for overstaying foreigners

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2019   •   3587

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)

Taiwan rejects deportation call against Pinay caregiver critical of Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The country’s foreign ministry has rejected calls for the deportation of a Filipina caregiver accused of cyber-libel by a Philippine labor official in Taiwan for “willful posting of nasty and malevolent materials against President Duterte.”

In a news conference on Tuesday (April 28), Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou noted that as a democratic country, Taiwan gives the same treatment to all foreign workers as its own citizens and that “their rights are protected, including freedom of speech.”

Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag of the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Taichung, Taiwan brought up the issue on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) website on Saturday (April 25).

In a press statement, Macauyag said the Filipina worker’s action “intended to cause hatred amidst the current global health crisis caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”

The Pinay caregiver,  identified as Elanei Egot Ordidor, is employed in Yunlin County in Taiwan.

The official alleged that Ordidor was using multiple social media accounts and joined groups “organized to discredit and malign the President and destabilize the government.”

He said his staff went to warn the OFW of the consequences of her posts on April 20 to which she conceded and assured to delete them and post a public apology to the President and the Philippines government.

His office also has coordinated with the worker’s broker and employer on her deportation on her supposed violation of the Philippines’ Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In an interview with Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA), Philippine representative and chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, Angelito Banayo said there was no instruction coming from the Philippines regarding the matter. 

He also noted that the order for deportation is a sovereign right of Taiwan being the host government.

“So the question of deportation is something that only the Taiwanese government can decide upon,” he said.

PAL, Cebu Pacific resume PH-Taiwan flights

Marje Pelayo   •   February 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific announced the resumption of their respective flights to Taiwan.

The decision came after the Philippine government lifted its travel ban imposed on the island nation due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Flag carrier PAL said they will operate the following flight schedule going to and from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport:

February 21 to February 29 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

  • PR 890 Manila-Taipei
  • PR 891 Taipei-Manila

March 1 (onwards)

  • PR890 – Manila (6:05 AM) to Taipei (8:30 AM)
  • PR891 – Taipei (9:30 AM) to Manila (11:40 AM)

March 29 (onwards)

  • Standard regular schedule of twice-daily flights
    • (PR890/PR891 and PR894/PR 895)

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific also announced resumption of the following flights:

February 17 (until further notice)

  • 5J310 Manila-Taipei  (Departs 10:40 pm)

February 18 (until further notice)

  • 5J311 Taipei-Manila  (Departs 1:45am Mon/Wed/Sat; 2:15am Tue/Thu/Fri/Sun)

February 21 (until further notice)

Manila-Taipei

  • 5J 312 (Departs 7:05 am)
  • 5J 310 (Departs 10:40 pm)

Taipei-Manila

  • 5J311 (Departs 1:45 am)
  • 5J313 (Departs 10:45 am)

For passengers who booked the said flights but have not availed for refund will depart as scheduled.

Passengers may also check the status of their flights through Cebu Pacific’s website on the Manage Booking menu.

Taiwan reports first death due to coronavirus disease

Marje Pelayo   •   February 17, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The country’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported on Sunday (February 16) the nation’s first death of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chun, the patient was a 61-year-old male living in central Taiwan.

He had Hepatitis B and diabetes prior to contracting the virus.

He, however, had no record of overseas travel, according to Minister Chen.

“This could be Taiwan’s first community transmitted case,” Chen noted in a press briefing.

The man is the country’s 19th confirmed case of COVID-19.

Health officials are still working to determine how he contracted the disease as he worked as a taxi driver who had customers who regularly travels from China, Macau and Hong Kong.

Investigations are being worked out on the man’s medical records, phone records and history of his travel within the country.

Chen said the patient first developed cough on January 27 and he was admitted to the hospital of February 3 due to shortness of breath.

He passed away on February 15 due to pneumonia and sepsis after being confirmed to have COVID-19, according to the Health Minister.

Meanwhile, Minister Chen announced the country’s 20th confirmed case, a 51-year-old male, identified as the younger brother of the 19th patient.

Despite these, Chen reiterated that healthy individuals need not to wear mask but advised the public to constantly wash hands for prevention.

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