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Taiwan mulls more flexibility for Macau people’s passports

2018-06-15 08:00     Comment:1

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official Carol Duh Chia-fen, who heads the council’s Department of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, said yesterday that the government-appointed council is currently in talks with the island’s immigration department to give Macau residents the choice whether to use their Portuguese or Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) passports to enter Taiwan.

MSAR passports of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are issued by the Macau government on behalf of the central government. Only Macau Chinese nationals can hold MSAR passports. Portuguese passports are foreign travel documents that some Macau residents also hold.

Duh made the comments during a meeting with a Macau media delegation at the archipelago’s Sheraton hotel. The delegation of 20 is currently in Penghu as part of a familiarisation tour organised by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Macau.

Currently, Macau residents using Portuguese passports issued before 1999 can enter Taiwan without a visa, and those using their MSAR passport can apply online for a 30- day entry permit free of charge.

Portugal administered Macau until midnight on December 19, 1999, without claiming sovereignty over the Chinese territory.

Currently, once Macau residents have used their Portuguese passport to enter Taiwan, they are denied entry when they want to use their MSAR passport on their next trip. In addition, once they have been registered by Taiwan immigration officials as holding Portuguese nationality, they will not be able to enjoy the benefits and rights the Taiwanese government gives to Macau residents.

In addition, Macau residents using Portuguese passports issued after 1999 are treated as “foreigners” and are not eligible for the same benefits enjoyed by Macau and Hong Kong residents, such as special work permits, tax refund incentives and the possible right of abode in Taiwan, should they want to live in Taiwan.

Asked by Macau reporters if any amendments would be made so that Macau people who have used a Portuguese passport to
enter Taiwan in the past can also claim their status as MSAR residents, Duh said the council was currently in discussion with Taiwan’s immigration department to 
allow more flexibility on the issue.

If approved, according to Duh, Macau residents would be able to decide once and for all whether to use their Portuguese passport to enter Taiwan, or their MSAR passport.

According to Duh, visitor arrivals from Macau to Taiwan reached 150,000 last year, 7 percent up from the previous year.

As for Macau students studying in Taiwan, the number stands at 5,200, according to Duh.


Duh said she was optimistic that Taiwan remains a popular choice for tertiary education for Macau students as the island’s authorities have implemented a raft of measures aimed at attracting them to stay and work there after graduating.



Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official Carol Duh Chia-Fen, who heads the council’s Department of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, speaks during a meeting held at the Sheraton hotel in Penghu yesterday. Photo: Monica Leong

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