Sunday, March 26, 2017

Some immigrants are wanted. others? not so much...

Farming in the Rift.

News came out this week of tiny, glacial changes in the law. At the moment most people who immigrate to Taiwan have to give up their foreign citizenship in order to immigrate, unless you come from a country like China or Japan that does not permit you to do that. But apparently some immigrants with fabulous skills or long service can get around that requirement....
The ministry is to promulgate today the regulation, which is in accordance with and supplementing an amendment to the Nationality Act (國籍法) passed by the legislature in December last year that states foreign nationals may be exempted from submitting a certificate of loss of original nationality if “they are high-level professionals in the technological, economic, educational, cultural, art, sports, or other domains who have been recommended by the central competent authority.”
The acerbic Jenna Lynn Cody ripped this in Greetings from a low level, non-outstanding foreigner.
I am also not exactly happy that, up until recently, the government has snubbed people who were actually born and raised here in favor of bestowing a unicorn-like waiver allowing dual nationality to some missionary (as a friend-of-a-friend pointed out, always a white Christian missionary). While I do not deny that missionaries do some good work, the side dish of evangelizing that comes with it is not good for Taiwan. The institutional advantage they enjoy because they have a big religious organization funding their work (which they use to preach their religion, which often comes with preaching the intolerance and bigotry that Christianity is unfortunately known for), which the rest of us can't possibly compete with because we can't afford to work for free, earns little sympathy from me. I await your hate mail for this opinion, but there it is.
Yup. At the moment there is this mad, multi-tiered view of others who might want to become Taiwanese -- overseas Chinese are in like Flynn, some privileged white foreigners with an organization behind them are possibles, most white foreigners not possible, brown people not even on the radar. Taiwan has a growing Indian population who would make a fine addition to Taiwan society. Except it seems unlikely they will ever be permitted....

Yet one prestigious economic institution forecasts that by 2021 Taiwan will have the worst brain drain on earth. Taiwan's society is aging rapidly as well.

If only there were some law that could be relaxed to allow people to enter Taiwan society more easily...
_______________________
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Taiwan government is not serious about immigration. Taiwan society and education system are not equipped to deal with immigration issue. Actually no Asian country except Singapore has well thought out structure and policy to handle immigration issue. The situation will not change unless there is large external force to push for changes.

There is huge backlash against immigration across the globe.

Jenna Cody said...

I could have been even meaner. I almost wrote "missionaries living in villages doing a few good things while teaching the locals that god hates gays".

But I didn't, not because there are missionaries who are actual good liberal openminded people (though even they do their "good works" with the ultimate goal of bringing their church fresh converts) - though there are. I didn't because bigotry knows no borders, and while there are so many openminded, liberal Taiwanese, there are not a small number who would've hated LGBT people without the missionaries around to tell them they should.

Anonymous said...

As an anti-gay protester, I wonder whether I would be better off applying on the basis of my missionary work, or as a human rights activist? (Gotta save those kiddies from not having a mom and dad!)

Anonymous said...

My whole life is a work of performance art. I'm applying on that basis. Otherwise...do you suppose Neuro-Linguistic Programming counts as a "cutting-edge technology"?

Anonymous said...

It strikes me as yet another Taipei law that addresses the demands of the powerful, employers looking for skilled professionals, while dismissing the needs of the less accomplished. And not without irony, it's the decades of effort by ordinary, unrecognized expats to create a pathway to citizenship that has nudged the authorities to develop one that excludes them. It could be baby steps ... but it feels more like the middle finger.

Anon2

Tommy said...

Eh. HK does this stuff all the time. For reference, it is not just a Taiwan issue. The Quality Migrants Admission Scheme has a category for outstanding athletes and Nobel prize winners and such, and the rest is based on a point system, where points are gained by how many of English, Canto, Mandarin one speaks; the level of education; etc. Sure, one can become a permanent resident after seven years (provided there are no breaks in the visa). But nobody can become a local citizen unless they have millions of dollars (Allan Zeman :-/) and get some kind of special approval from the Chinese government. Taiwan is at least ever so slightly relaxing its requirements.

None of this is to suggest that Taiwan now has something fair in place. Frankly, I think such restrictions are stupid. HK has a very low birth rate and has a shortage of labor. Nevertheless, with all do respect, I find outrage over this to be a bit rich. After all, if one really wants to become Taiwanese, one can become Taiwanese. Not so with respect to HK, because almost nobody can "become" a Chinese citizen. And HK is of China. Sick, isn't it?