On Wednesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that any non-Taiwanese whose whose permit or residency status expires during the COVID-19 outbreak must leave the country.
In domestic news reports overnight, the government confirmed that the possibility of contracting the virus elsewhere will not be deemed a valid reason to extend current visas.
Earlier in the day foreign nationals took to social media, preempting the MOFA decision, and looking for ways to extend their stay.
This flurry of activity came on the back of a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) decision that all foreign nationals will be banned from entering Taiwan for the foreseeable future. Exceptions, do, however, exist for legal residents in possession of a Resident Card (ARC) and those with special government permits. That ban came into force at midnight on Wednesday.
In recent years, many non-Taiwanese arrive in Taiwan on short-term tourist visas but stay for extended periods, often working illegally.
Some eventually spend up to several years at a time in the country by making ‘visa-runs’. This usually entails a day or two in Hong Kong every three months to renew a tourist visa,
Despite the clampdown on foreign nationals seen in the past 24 hours, all those entering Taiwan, regardless of nationality, now face a 14 day quarantine period.
Anyone concerned about their immigration status should visit the immigration homepage for the latest news.