CORONAVIRUS/Over 30,000 visa overstayers vaccinated: NIA

Taiwan has provided vaccinations to over 30,000 foreign individuals who have overstayed their visas, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) announced on Sunday.

In a press statement, the NIA said that the number accounts for almost 40 percent of foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas.

Totaling around 83,700 as of October 2021, these foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas include various types of Alien Resident Certificates holders, visitors with tourist visas, and undocumented migrant workers.

According to the NIA, the number of individuals turning up to vaccination stations continues to increase.

The NIA said that on Dec. 3, the agency teamed up with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), the Ministry of Labor (MOL), the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to launch the "Carefree Covid-19 Vaccination Program."

The program is available to "detainees, detainees who are on a temporary release, unreported overstayers, or undocumented migrant workers," according to the NIA.

Since the program is fully funded by the government, no fees would be charged to those who want to be inoculated, the agency said.

The NIA also stressed that individuals who participate in the program would not be reported to or investigated by authorities.

Additionally, should flights resume between Taiwan and the origin countries of participants who have overstayed their visa, these individuals will be exempt from an entry ban into Taiwan as long as they surrender themselves to the NIA within six months, the agency said.

Both the NIA and the CECC have also been working with local governments to assist visa overstayers in confirming their status, and to promote the program to more people, it said.

The "Carefree Covid-19 Vaccination Program" is set to continue until Jan. 31.

According to the official instructions on the NIA website, individuals should sign up for the inoculation program through NGOs such as the "Chinese Regional Bishops' Conference, Chinese Muslim Association, and R.O.C. Community Sustainable Development Association."

Notifications about the time and location will be sent to individuals following their registration, who must bring their "passport, ARC, or other identification documents" to the appointed sites.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting the NIA or the MOL, the website said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel