Taiwan to ease residence restrictions on Chinese spouses

December 11th, 2008 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Taipei, Dec 11 (DPA) Taiwan Thursday approved amendments to a law that would greatly ease current restrictions on Chinese spouses living on the island.”With the amendments, mainland spouses will be able to get identify cards here in six years instead of eight years as required currently,” said Lai Shin-yuan, chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council, the island’s top China policy planning body, at a news conference.

She said the revisions, which still need approval from parliament, would also allow Chinese spouses of Taiwanese people to work immediately after they enter Taiwan legally.

Under the current law, these spouses must live in Taiwan for at least six years before they are allowed to work. Violation would be subject to repatriation back to China.

The relaxation, especially that involving working rights of Chinese spouses, is considered a major policy breakthrough following years of criticism by human rights groups on the island.

Lai said the cabinet approved the amendments under the consideration of anti-discrimination and protection of basic working rights for the Chinese spouses.

Cross-strait relations have taken a dramatic turn for the better since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Nationalist Party was elected president and took office in May.

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