Sunday, March 7, 2010

Citizenship reform is a win-win proposition (Taiwan Today)

In the ROC, as in many other countries, reforming the rules that govern how foreigners can acquire nationality is not a priority for the citizenry. However, Taiwan’s government should consider dropping one of its naturalization requirements that requires applicants to renounce their original nationality.

This would encourage thousands of Antipodeans, Europeans and North Americans already settled in Taiwan to apply for ROC citizenship. Given the nation’s economic difficulties and rapidly aging population, this is something the government surely desires.

Most of these potential citizens, some of whom describe themselves as Taiwanese in their hearts, have called the island home for more than a decade. Many have local spouses and children; more than a few run businesses which employ Taiwanese people.

Not everyone in this category is interested in becoming an ROC citizen, but those who have looked into it describe most of the naturalization requirements as reasonable. Applicants must meet certain residential and financial criteria; there is a Chinese language test, a health examination and a background check. However, one complaint surfaces again and again: that candidates renounce their original nationality. This, they claim, is unfair, illogical and pointless.

It is unfair because the ROC allows those who are already citizens to hold dual nationality. There is no legal obstacle, from the ROC side at least, if a Taiwanese who has become a citizen of another country wishes to retain his or her ROC nationality and travel on an ROC passport. The U.K., U.S. and some other countries allow their citizens to hold two or more nationalities. South Korea and Japan are among those who expressly forbid it. Taiwan’s nationality law is almost unique in being asymmetrical.

If the requirement that those seeking to be naturalized give up their old citizenship was designed to ensure the loyalty of new citizens to the ROC, it is illogical. Those who drafted the rule seem not to have considered that some people already have more than one nationality...

The complete article can be read here.Taiwan's peculiar naturalization rules have been discussed in many parts of the web, notably


Tom Carroll said...

Good article. I am wondering if there are any groups promoting this change. As you note, the requirements for naturalization are reasonable. Giving up citizenship in your native country s the big stumbling block.

Living in a dream said...

Hi Steven,

Brilliant article. I also hold an APRC for 2 years already and got married recently. The only problem is that I still don't feel I have any rights. I'm a Marketing Director of a Taiwanese company, but still don't have the right to get a bank loan to buy a house just because I'm considered to be a foreigner even though I earn a lot. I will also lose assets and investments if I renounce my citizenship in my home country Anyway, I really think something should be done about it and I know many others that are in the same boat.