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Taiwan to start 5-month amnesty program for overstaying foreigners

by Marje Pelayo   |   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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Extension of visa-free privilege for Filipinos in Taiwan still under study

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

TAIWAN – Extension of visa-free treatment to Philippine passport holders is still under study by Taiwan’s Executive Yuan.

On Monday (June 10), Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the island state is expected to extend visa-privileges to citizens of four countries — the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand and Russia — originally set to expire on July 31, 2019.

According to MOFA, the decision will depend on the result of the assessment on the program’s effectiveness throughout the trial year.

“The final decision will be announced by the Executive Yuan in due time,” it said.

Under the visa-free program, foreign nationals from the said four countries are allowed to enter Taiwan without visa and stay in the island for up to 14 days.

The relaxed visa system was launched by the Taiwan government in an effort to boost the number of tourist arrivals after a decline in tourists from mainland China.

According to the latest figure from Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, tourist arrivals from the Philippines increased by 12.46 percent in the first four months of 2019 from a year earlier.

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11 Filipino startups join tech exhibition in Taiwan

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2019

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Twenty-five (25) countries showcase their respective innovations in the biggest tech exhibit in Asia – InnoVEX 2019 – happening at Taipei World Trade Center from May 29 to May 31.

A total of 11 startup companies represent the Philippines in the three-day event specifically utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Cyber Security, Smart Advertising and eCommerce, Education, and Housing solution among others.

In cooperation with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Taipei, startup companies in the Philippines were given the opportunity to introduce their products to the international market and promote Filipino capability and strength in the field of Information Technology (IT).

“Dito kasi napapakita natin hindi lang sa Taiwan industry kundi sa buong mundo ang kagalingan ng Pilipino sa IT,” noted MECO Chairman Angelito Banayo.

“Mga startups ito. Ibig sabihin karamihan ng makikita mo ay puro bata, mga naguumpisa ng negosyo pero ang puhunan talaga nila ay ang kanilang talino, ang kanilang galing at ang creativity, Doon naman napakagaling ng Pilipino,” he added.

Jonathan de Luzuriaga, president of the Philippine Software Industry Association, said such an event provides an opportunity for the Philippine IT industry to broaden its understanding and appreciation of the startup ecosystem which will help bolster the country’s IT capability.

“Hopefully we’ll learn to create our own products for the rest of the world to actually use,” he said.

Meanwhile, MECO Director for Commercial Affairs Michael Alfred Ignacio explained that the participation of Filipino startup companies in the said tech competition will “show that the Philippines is also a hub of technology, innovation, and startups that can really succeed” through Filipinos’ immense talent and innovation.

The Philippines first joined the annual InnoVEX competition in 2018 when its representative brought home $70,000USD in price.

The competition will proceed to the next level on Friday (May 31) when the Philippines will take the center stage along with France, Poland and Canada for the Global Demo Day.

The event also serves as a gathering of international investors and corporations who are potential sponsors for startups to take their innovations to a greater height. – (with reports from Amiel Pascual)

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Filipino radio program airs weekly in Taiwan

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Sunday, March 10th, 2019

Filipina radio host, Jay Rose ‘Kaibigang Jay’ Ho. (Photo by Chris Narag|PVI)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – A Filipino radio program has been hitting the airwaves in Taiwan since February 2016.

It is hosted by Jay Rose Ho or simply ‘Kaibigang Jay’, a daughter of a Filipina overseas worker who eventually became an immigrant in Taiwan.

Her program entitled “Feel at Home Ka Dito” is delivered in Filipino language and airs weekly through Taiwan Broadcasting Corporation.

It aims to answer questions of Filipinos living and working in the state.

“(Ito ay) para sa mga foreign workers na nagtrabaho dito sa Taiwan, kasama na doon ang mga new immigrants. Mostly kaya ako nagsasalita ng Chinese kasi mayroon ding nakikinig (gaya ng) aking employer or agency or broker (This is for foreign workers here in Taiwan including the new immigrants. I mostly speak Chinese because I also have local listeners like my employer, my agency or broker),” Ho said.

The program has four segments. The first part talks about the latest local news and updates. This is when ‘Kaibigan Jay’ also shares personal experiences and observations that can inspire her listeners.

The second part talks about Taiwan laws that immigrant should know.

Meanwhile, the third part is a much more specific discussion about the latest news involving Filipinos in the country.

Lastly, ‘Kaibigang Jay’ offers Mandarin lessons on air.

Jay said her former job at Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor Help Hotline 1955 was helpful for her to be able to extract and explain the details of the country’s labor laws and for Filipinos to be informed on which measures to take should they encounter problems in their workplace.

Jay’s program has been instrumental in solving several problems of Filipino workers who have asked for help through her program.

“Recently ang sabi niya [Filipino worker] nga sa akin pwede ba daw sila manganak dito sa Taiwan? Sabi ko, pwede naman, ang masama nga yung nabuntis ka tapos papaalisin ka papirmahin ka ng letter (Recently, a Filipino worker asked me if she can give birth here in Taiwan. I said yes. What’s worst is when you are pregnant and then suddenly you will be asked to leave and sign a letter),” she explained.

“Mayroon kang rights. Kasama tayo sa Taiwan Labor Standard Law kaya you are allowed (na) mabuntis (o) manganak dito sa Taiwan (You have rights. We are covered under the Taiwan Labor Standard Law so you are allowed to conceive and give birth here in Taiwan),” she added.

Jay invites other Filipinos in Taiwan to join her on board to share to the Taiwanese community the Filipino culture, the beautiful places in the Philippines and the Filipino values.

She hopes to be of help to more Filipinos in the future through her humble program. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Amiel Pascual)

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