The ROC Immigration Law was promulgated on May 21, 1999, and we began hearing of the enforcement of this relevant article a few times in late December of 1999, and then pretty consistently from early 2000 on.
If there are extenuating circumstances, then I would say it would be worth fighting. It is a “zero tolerance” policy yes, but it can be challenged. A particular case I had heard of was that of a one year old child whose parents were careless and the baby overstayed a month. The parents were in full time work and couldn’t take the baby to H.K. for a visa run. I suggested that we fight it right here in the ROC, however they were missionaries and didn’t want to make waves. I believe the final solution was that the parents quit their jobs, then the three of them packed their bags and went back to Canada.
I felt that the story need not have ended on such a sad note. During the time we would have been going through the administrative appeal, court hearing, etc. it is true that the baby would have been here illegally, however in the case of an infant, I don’t think that is a serious problem. It might be more of a problem for an adult.
It seems to me that some interesting “extenuating circumstances” would be present in the case of a foreign lady (occupation: housewife) married to a local ROC gentleman, who had overstayed her ARC and didn’t want to leave Taiwan, since that would run the risk of being blacklisted and not being able to come back immediately. Based on the Civil Law articles which discuss the concept of “home” and the obligations of husband and wife, I think that the “zero tolerance” on ARC extension could be successfully challenged. At any rate, it would make an interesting court case.
Although in theory men and women are equal, I am assuming that the foreign wife married to the ROC man would be the most desirable test case in this regard, since if she were a housewife she would not have to worry about her employment status during the period of her overstay time when we were trying to get her ARC extension taken care of. For a foreign man married to a local woman, it might be more complicated, since during his period of “overstay” it would be impossible to have any legal work rights.