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Forward Taiwan is an organization of some activists and lawyers that was pushing for dual nationality in the years prior to 2016. They put considerable effort into pushing for a broader set of issues which included marriage-related residence, work rights, permanent residence, and nationality. On the nationality front, while the stateless problem has ostensibly been addressed, the dual nationality problem remains.

In the Appendix to their 2014 policy proposal, available on their website, Forward Taiwan includes a detailed account of their push to amend the law together with legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴). Importantly, the reasons given by the Ministry of the Interior for rejecting the proposal are all "manifestly wrong," as the document notes.

The MOI provided 5 reasons for rejecting the proposal to lift the renunciation requirement:

  1. Taiwan's renunciation requirement was similar to provisions in other countries (Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the PRC, Belgium, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Germany, Austria and Italy)
  2. Other countries' nationality laws are too varied and complex, so that reciprocity would be "too much trouble."
  3. The Nationality Act already exempts those who are "unable to obtain a certificate of loss of original nationality for reasons not attributable to them."
  4. Permanent residence is a viable alternative.
  5. There would be a mass influx of foreign migrants and Taiwan is already overpopulated, which would be detrimental to Taiwanese people's quality of life.

The first of these reasons is simply incorrect. The majority of countries - especially progressive and democratic countries - either do not have a renunciation requirement at all, have broad exceptions to the rule, or do not strictly enforce the renunciation requirement except in special circumstances. Those few countries which do strictly enforce a renunciation requirement apply the law equally: they revoke the citizenship of their own citizens who obtain a foreign nationality.

The other four reasons are almost laughably wrong. The MOI claims that foreign nationality laws are too varied and complex for them to understand, but the Motor Vehicle Office apparently has no problem tracking driving license regulations around the world - even down to the state or provincial level in some countries - and applying a policy of reciprocity for driving in Taiwan. Most people, of course, cannot obtain a document proving that they are unable to renounce their citizenship, and permanent residence is simply not a real alternative to full citizenship. The last reason is so implausible it beggars in the imagination.

Meanwhile, despite the MOI's outright rejection of any relaxation on the renunciation requirement, Taiwanese citizens are free to obtain citizenship in another country without any fear of losing their Taiwanese nationality. The same law which requires renunciation for foreigners also states that Taiwanese nationals shall lose nationality when obtaining another nationality, but only if they submit an application and it is approved by the MOI. Don't submit the application, don't lose Taiwanese nationality - it's as simple as that.

That same law even recognizes the reality of dual nationality, as it explicitly prohibits dual nationals from holding government positions in Taiwan.

Five years later, is it time to make another proposal to the MOI, addressing in detail each of their five concerns? We can do it, but we need your help.


You can help!

If someone you know may be eligible for Taiwanese naturalization, please share this article with them, and like us on Facebook and Twitter to show your support. If you are eligible for naturalization, but are unwilling or unable to proceed due to the renunciation requirement, please join our mailing list. You'll be the first to know of any meeting, rally, press conference, or other public action where your support would be most valuable.