Taipei — Taiwan's legislative branch, the Legislative Yuan, approved an amendment to the Immigration Act on November 1st, which would grant residence permits to stateless nationals from Tibet who arrived in Taiwan.
The amendment stipulates that the National Immigration Agency should grant residence permits to stateless nationals from Tibet, who entered Taiwan from India and Nepal before June 29, 2016, once their identities are confirmed by the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission.
The existing Immigration Act allows only stateless nationals from Tibet who entered Taiwan from India and Nepal between May 21, 1999 and Dec. 31, 2008 to stay.
Kolas Yotaka, a current legislator of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), estimated that thanks to the amended bill, at least 16 such stateless nationals are expected to obtain residence and work permits.
Yotaka pointed out that a great number of Tibetans have been forced to leave their homes over the past few years as the Chinese government continues its oppressive rule in Tibet, particularly after 2009. Since then more than 100 Tibetans have protested such oppression by self-immolating, while more than 6,800 have been arrested.
A Taiwan Parliamentary Group for Tibet was established in last month by national legislators, with the group’s leadership promising to push for legislation to abolish the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission and create a mechanism for Tibetans to use refugee status to gain legal residency.