Most immigrant spouses happy in Taiwan

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TAIPEI: The majority of immigrant spouses married to Taiwanese are satisfied with their lives in the country, according to a survey released by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) recently.

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A total of 92.9 percent said they are happy, and 87 percent said they have no problem getting along with their adoptive families. Of the 498,368 new immigrants, 67.6 percent are from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, and 28.1 percent from Southeast Asian nations such as Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

MOI Deputy Minister Chen Chwen-jing said immigrants enrich Taiwan’s cultural and ethnic diversity, and are a valuable asset that must be harnessed. “The government will work toward enhancing Taiwan’s competitiveness in the global arena by capitalizing on the multicultural and multilingual backgrounds of these new members of society,” he said.

According to the five-yearly study first conducted in 2003, female immigrant spouses outnumber males, with those from Hong Kong, Macau and China topping both categories at 315,293 and 21,735, respectively. They were followed by Vietnam women, 90,503, and Thai men, 2,661.

The data also shows that average household income for immigrant families stood at NT$46,173 ($1,476) per month, less than the NT$98,073 for nonimmigrant families. In addition, 40.3 percent of the former’s children cannot speak the mother tongue of the immigrant spouse.

“We are tackling this issue by strengthening the education of second-generation immigrant youth through the ministry’s New Immigrants Torch Program,” Chen said, adding that the initiative is expected to prove effective in encouraging the take-up of a foreign-born parent’s native language.

“The MOI will assist more immigrants in being all they can be by cooperating with local governments in providing targeted programs and reallocating resources,” he added. TAIWAN TODAY

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