Taiwan has displayed chaotic preferences regarding visas for non-nationals and immigration.

At the beginning of the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, the government restricted entry to only nationals and those holding residence cards, but after the outbreak in 2021 due to massive state blunders, on May 17th also halted the processing of new visa applications.

As the country entered level three of the newly created lockdown framework, this provided the government with justification for their policies as issued on June 11th. But even as the country entered level two on July 27th, the government kept this policy in place as is.

However, less than a month later, likely due to pressure from for-profit universities and schools, the government created an exception for visa processing for schools, including for non-degree seeking students applying for Mandarin-learning programs, an important revenue stream, but still a massive public health risk.

A second large exception class was created on November 11th, when the government allowed “Foreign Migrant Workers,” only from Indonesia, special access to jump the queue and again, worked to create a legal exception to fulfill an economic demand at the expense of public safety.

The government now states

According to the current policy from the CECC, only overseas students, Indonesian migrant workers, spouses and minor children of R.O.C.(Taiwan) nationals, spouses and minor children of Resident Certificate holders(migrant workers and students excluded), and persons admitted for special humanitarian or diplomatic reasons will be allowed to apply for a special entry permit visa.

The intent is not to argue that foreign nationals should or should not be let in. It simply points out that seemingly arbitrary, idiosyncratic exceptions to a rule ostensibly designed to protect public health, but that clearly instead prioritize special limited economic interests, makes both Taiwanese citizens and foreign governments question the neutrality of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as their commitment to transparency and the health and well being of the people of Taiwan.

If the CECC has deemed that risk has sufficiently decreased, then the halting of visa processing should be revoked. If not, then no exceptions should be made, regardless of corrupt political pressure put on the state. The imposition of such a bizarre collection of exemptions increasingly resembles the administration of a crooked banana republic.


Staff writer