Restrictions eased on foreign NPOs opening offices in Taiwan

Taipei-The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) issued a press release Wednesday detailing the easing of restrictions on the opening of foreign non-profit organization (NPO) branch offices in Taiwan, including those from Hong Kong and Macau.

In the press release, the ministry publicized the newly-revised “Directions for Foreign Civil Institutions and Organizations to Apply to Set up and Register Offices in the Republic of China (Taiwan).”

The directions, which were first promulgated in 1987, were amended on Dec. 31, 2020, at which time several obstacles to foreign NPOs looking to set up contact points (offices) in Taiwan were removed, the ministry said.

Under the revised regulations, foreign NPOs are allowed to establish secretariats and multiple offices in Taiwan, the ministry said, noting that the revisions were made to give foreign NPOs more flexibility in deciding the level and scope of their operations.

In addition, such offices are now no longer required to report to the local police, in line with the principle of freedom of association and the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the MOI said.

Other regulations that have been loosened include a six-month grace period for the responsible foreign national of such an office to obtain an Alien Resident Certificate as required.

Moreover, for the first time, the directions provide a legal basis for NPOs from Hong Kong and Macau to establish offices in Taiwan.

They also make a clear distinction between NPOs from Hong Kong and Macau — two special administration regions of China — and those from mainland China proper, according to the ministry.

The revised directions stipulate that organizations from mainland China are still not allowed to set up offices and no Chinese citizens from the mainland are allowed to work for an office, citing the protection of national interests and security.

The MOI expressed hope that the relaxation of the rules will encourage more NPOs from other countries and areas, including Hong Kong and Macau, to set up offices in Taiwan, “making the country more visible on the world stage and help expand its international relations.”

Under the revised directions, a so-called “foreign civil institution or organization” is defined as a cultural, economic, industrial, commercial, scientific, technological, or other nonprofit institution or organization established in a foreign country.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel