Foreign Spouses Network

Does anyone know if the foreign spouses network is still around, or if it is defunct?

My latest ARC overstay experience was no big deal, BUT it was a wake-up call. I think many of us who get ARC’s through a foreign spouse tend to think of it like a green card/permanent residency in the U.S. My latest experience showed me that the Taiwanese view an ARC as nothing but a glorified tourist visa.

In recent years, so much progress was made in laws regarding foreigners. Because authorities tend to turn a blind eye to those of us with ARC’s through a spouse, most of us complacently feel all is well. But a lot still needs to be done. Legal employment, for example. After five years being in Taiwan, married to a Taiwanese, it would be nice to have the right to legally work anywhere I can find employment–not just those places allowed to hire foreigners, even though my ARC does give me an “under the table, look the other way” advantage.

Yes it is. Get ahold of Richard Hartzell.

I am aware of the employment issues that ShanYang brought up in the preceding email. I am working on those, and have given the relevant proposals for legal changes to key Legislative Yuan members.

If you have other specific questions about the situation of foreign spouses in Taiwan, please feel free to submit them to this Forum.

I also think we should revive the Foreign Spouse Network. If the original organizers, of which Richard Hartzell is one of them is too busy to take care of it, perhaps he could delagate some work to others. We could have get togethers, a BBS on the website and hopefully become a small but vocal political force in Taiwan that as foreign residents of Taiwan can do more than just fight for our rights but perhaps get together for publicized clean-up days etc, to help beautify Taiwan etc. What do you think Richard?

I thank you for your comments. Let me take this opportunity to outline some background information and direction for the future.

The Foreign Spouse Network began in early 1994. Some of the original goals were to have a relaxation of the eligibility requirements for “Joining Family Resident Visa”, better residency rights for foreign spouses, and more liberalized work rights.

As of Sept. 2000, a foreign spouse may apply for a JFRV immediately after marriage, there is no longer a “proof of communal living” waiting period or a financial viability requirement.

The Immigration Law established the category of permanent resident alien in May 1999, and to my understanding nearly 400 foreigners have been approved and received APRCs to date.

Currently, foreign spouses can enjoy fairly liberalized work rights under ESA Article 48 application procedures. There is no need for proof of prior work experience, relevant educational background, employer’s available quota, health exam, etc., etc. However, you still have to have an employer, and he has to do the application procedures.

Over and above this, the legislative proposals for more liberalized work rights are in the Legislative Yuan. We had a big Public Hearing on this on June 20, 2000. We are waiting for a second and third reading of those changes to the Employment Services Act. I would add that the CLA has agreed to our proposals, there is no argument there: it would be a one time registration, and then you would have free work rights (for foreign spouses, for permanent alien residents, etc.) You could work in a company or sell sausages in the street.

The remaining legal difficulties which need to be solved are primarily in terms of “individual situations”. In other words, a foreign spouse feels that his/her rights are being violated by some administrative regulation, or law, or whatever. In other words, he/she is at odds with a particular government agency. In my opinion, the proper way to solve these problems is through the courts.

Hence, there is a need for individuals to focus on a particular problem area (which involves their own situation), and decide to put the necessary resources together to move forward with the appropriate legal action. In that way, we can get a legal precedent which is favorable to all people residing here.

I will be happy to personally meet with anyone who has a burning interest in solving any problem, (personal and or business) where they feel the government is violating their rights. I am fairly good at assessing how various difficulties may be solved for the benefit of the foreign community here in Taiwan.

What we often see on the Oriented website are a lot of casual inquiries about various difficult matters. I often sense that the inquirer is not really committed to FINDING A SOLUTION. However, in order to really get the ball rolling (and make progress in the area of “human rights”) there needs to be a burning commitment on the part of some individual to solve a particular problem.

A burning commitment begins with the desire to devote TIME and some modest amount of FINANCIAL RESOURCES to solving the problem. There is a methodology for dealing with these matters, and a certain amount of secretarial help is undeniably necessary. Ideally, you will liaison with your associates to set up your own little team, and then we can discuss how to proceed from there.

The website for the National Network of Foreign Spouses has been reinstalled at

There were some server problems during 2000. The information on the site has been updated, and so should still be of useful reference to those foreigners who are married (or planning to be married) to local ROC citizens.