Hongkongers Migrating to Taiwan Face Tightened Requirements and Longer Process

Media Commentator: People with possible CCP connections are unlikely to be allowed to settle in Taiwan
By Nie Law
Nie Law
Nie Law
Nie Law is a contributor to The Epoch Times with a focus on Hong Kong-related topics.
and Anya Lee
Anya Lee
Anya Lee
August 1, 2022Updated: August 1, 2022

More and more cases indicate the applications of Hong Kong people intending to migrate to Taiwan under the “Professional Migrant” category met increasing screening and thus longer processing time. Richard Shum See Hoi, a senior commentator on current affairs, concluded, “Emigrating to Taiwan will only become increasingly difficult from now on.”

Recently, a meeting was held between various departments of the Kaohsiung City Government in Taiwan and Hong Kong people to understand the current situation and problems facing Hong Kong immigrants.

The meeting mainly focused on the difficulties for Hong Kong people settling in Taiwan. It dealt in particular with those problems encountered by “Professional Immigrants.”

Some “Professional Migrants” applicants from Hong Kong said that when they applied for permanent residency, they were suddenly notified of the need to satisfy additional criteria. Moreover, the employment requirements for “Professional Migrants” are pretty high, and it is exceedingly difficult for them to find suitable employment in Taiwan.

Some commentators believe that in recent years, Taiwan has tightened its various immigration regulations for Hong Kong people, and it will only become increasingly difficult for Hong Kong people to migrate to Taiwan.

‘HK People’s Life Symposium’ Held in Kaohsiung

The Kaohsiung City Government, together with the Mainland Affairs Council, and the Taiwanese Civil Aid to Hongkongers (TAHK), held a “2022 Symposium on Life of Hongkongers in Kaohsiung” at the Kaohsiung Mayor’s official residence on July 28.

Representatives from the local departments and bureaus of Civil Affairs, Education, Health, and Social Welfare, attended the event. During the symposium, the officials exchanged ideas and opinions with the Hong Kong people now living in Kaohsiung on issues such as “life, education, and health care.”

According to the number of new arrivals released by the Department of Civil Affairs of the Kaohsiung City Government, as of July 25, 1,373 Hong Kong and Macao residents were registered in Kaohsiung City.

Chang Fu-feng, Chief Secretary of the Department of Administration and International Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government, said at the meeting that more and more Hong Kong people are coming to Taiwan to work and study. Mayor Chen Chi-mai is also very concerned about the living conditions of Hong Kong people in Kaohsiung and will try to provide all necessary resources and assistance.

He said that the Kaohsiung City Government currently has a dedicated website for Hong Kong, which integrates policies from the central government, residency, study, employment, and daily affairs. Hong Kong people are also encouraged to take the initiative to report their actual problems and seek assistance.

Difficult to Find Employment and Settle Down

Apart from the difficulties of professional immigrants to find suitable employment and settle down, one Hong Kong migrant said that when he applied under the “Professional Migrant” category, he was neither told about the need to retake an examination for his overseas qualifications nor the need to have worked in Taiwan before granting full citizenship.

The application form only stated that they could apply for settlement after living there for one year. It was only later that he discovered all such prerequisites in Taiwan before they could be considered for final approval. Because of the misinformation, he did not have the required skill certified in Taiwan, nor did he obtain a license and an ID card, so he could not find a job outside his major trade.

Ms. Li, the representative of the National Immigration Agency, Ministry of the Interior, said that she would convey all relevant concerns to the Permanent Residency Section.

Taiwan Gradually Tightening Immigration Threshold

In an interview with the Epoch Times, Richard Shum See-hoi, senior media personnel and commentator on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, pointed out that in Taiwan’s Constitution, both Hong Kong and Macao belong to the Republic of China (ROC). Before the sovereignty change in 1997, Hong Kong people were issued national identity cards as usual when they arrived in Taiwan. After naturalization, they would be granted the right of abode. At that time, there was never such a thing called immigration from Hong Kong (or Macao).

He pointed out that the “Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong & Macao Affairs” was drafted by incumbent Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in 1990, and he saw no possibility that Tsai would overturn the regulations outlined in that year during her current term of office.

Shum pointed out further that immigration via investment only required a minimum of about HK$1 million (about US$130,000) in the past. The current threshold has risen to about HK$1.5 million (about US$191,000). Moreover, the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) must review all such investment plans.

He described such reviews as a bit picky and cumbersome, and includes scrutinizing bank deposits, liquidity, the length of deposits, and even the source of funds. Only when all this required information passes the review can you start applying for the said immigration via investment.

National Security Review Affects Application Success

When asked about his views on the National Security Bureau’s review of Hong Kong immigrants, Shum believes there are three types of people who do not stand any chance of being allowed to settle in Taiwan. They are Hong Kong people born on the mainland, Hong Kong people who worked in the civil service after 1997, and also those who worked for China-funded companies.

They will all be regarded by the Taiwan authorities as helping the CCP and will never pass the Taiwan national security review.