Taiwan in race to allow individual visits by HKers
Taiwan has been working hard to allow Hongkongers to visit the island on individual travel, its deputy Mainland Affairs Council minister Chiu Chui-cheng said.
Taipei has allowed most arrivals from overseas to visit the island quarantine-free since October 13, but Hongkongers could not benefit at that time because of national security considerations, that is, until November 7 when it was announced that they can visit in group tours.
Applications for every tour group must go through travel agents recognized by Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, but each group must have at least five members and not more than 40. They can stay in Taiwan for up to 15 days.
At a food cultural carnival in Taipei on Saturday, Chiu was asked when Taiwan will open to individual tourists from Hong Kong, to which he responded that authorities have been studying and discussing the issue.
"Regarding further opening up to Hongkongers to visit Taiwan under individual visits, we have been studying and discussing this issue, and this is also our policy goal, and we will be working on this with full effort," Chiu said.
When asked if another "long-term residency" option can be added for Hongkongers moving to Taiwan besides current-stay permits and permanent residency, Chiu said authorities continue to review the immigration policy and it can be adjusted any time.
Arrangements for Hongkongers to stay for longer periods will be thoroughly studied and launched in a timely fashion, he added.
Hong Kong and Macau residents can apply to work in Taiwan, but that's only for white-collar workers since November 7 .
Additionally, people can also apply to travel to Taiwan for religious activities.
Previously, only those who were visiting their families, attending a funeral or coming for business reasons could apply for entry.