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What is the content of the government's amendments to the stipulations concerning Mainland spouses in the Act Governing Relations Between People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area?

(1) In order to further protect the rights and interests of Mainland spouses living in Taiwan and to carry out President Ma's platform on immigration, which advocates "treating marriage immigrants humanely and protecting their employment rights," the MAC upholds four principles, including "anti-prejudice," "the rule of law principle in democratic countries," "protection of basic rights and interests of real marriage Mainland spouses living in Taiwan," and "eradication of false marriages." The opinions of marriage immigrant groups were also taken into account by the MAC when making amendments to the Act Governing Relations between People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (thereafter referred to as the "Act"). The amended Act was implemented by the Executive Yuan on August 14, 2009, the key points are as follows:

1.The employment rights of Mainland spouses were comprehensively liberalized: As long as Mainland spouses enter Taiwan legally and pass the interview process, they will be able to work in Taiwan without having to apply for a permit or wait for two years.

2.The period of stay required to obtain an ROC ID card has been reduced to six years: The previous stipulation concerning a two-year family reunion period has been revoked. The period required for Mainland spouses to obtain an ROC ID card has been reduced from eight years to six years.

3.New rules have been formulated to stipulate that a review committee be held for Mainland spouses before they depart from Taiwan: When Mainland spouses are subjected to compulsory departure due to overstaying their visas or engaging in criminal behavior, the amended regulations stipulate that a review committee be held by the National Immigration Agency, Ministry of the Interior for Mainland spouses before they depart from Taiwan and give the involved parties an opportunity to state their views.

4.Rules limiting the maximum amount of inheritance to NT$2 million for Mainland spouses have been removed: In consideration of the rights and interests as well as the life and property of Mainland spouses in a marital relationship, the restrictions banning them from receiving an inheritance over NT$2 million has been rescinded. In addition, restrictions will be eased on inheritance of real estate by Mainland spouses that are long-term residents of Taiwan.

(2) In consideration of human rights, we will help build up positive assessment for Mainland spouses amongst the public, thus gradually eliminate public prejudice against them. The 2009 amendment provides more comprehensive protections for Mainland spouses' employment rights, right to obtain an ID card, and property rights with a view to promoting the public's correct and healthy attitude toward Mainland spouses. By making adjustments to recognize their role as the main breadwinner in the family and their due basic livelihood rights as a spouse, as well as to ensure protection of human rights, we hope to gradually eliminate the public's prejudice against them and implement the protection of their rights so as to see more successful and happy cross-strait marriages and families.

(3) The amended Act of 2009 provided further protections for Mainland spouses' right to obtain an ID card and employment rights. However, differences remained between the Mainland spouse and foreign spouse systems, leading to a public response calling for consistency in the protections of the rights for both groups. Hence, the MAC, in conjunction with the Ministry of the Interior and other relevant agencies, deliberated amendments to Article 17 of the Cross-Strait Act in reference to the foreign spouse system. The number of years required for Mainland spouses to obtain an identity card was reduced to four to eight years so that they may enjoy the same rights as foreign spouses. On November 14, 2012, the MAC submitted the draft amendments to the Executive Yuan, which approved and forwarded them to the Legislative Yuan for review. The MAC will actively communicate with and urge the Legislative Yuan to promptly complete the review process.