Taiwan News: Govt Mulls Making Migrant Remittances More Convenient

Taiwan News: Govt Mulls Making Migrant Remittances More Convenient
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The Financial Supervisory Commission said Tuesday that it is studying the feasibility of allowing migrant workers to use convenience stores to remit money back home.

According to commission Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄), his office is considering the idea of non-financial institutes serving as channels for cash remittances under the current regulatory sandbox mechanism.

Lawmakers enacted the Financial Regulatory Sandbox in April. It provides a legal space for financial technology firms and financial institutions to test innovative products and services.

Koo said remittances made through convenience stores by migrant workers would be limited to small amounts and they will have to designate recipients for the remittances, such as family members, with an eye to sidestepping money laundering concerns.

Large numbers of migrant workers here in Taiwan currently use Western Union Quick Cash as their main channel for remittances.

However, few banks offer the service, ensuring that many migrant workers must make a weekly trip to one of just a handful of branches. This usually occurs on their only day off, which is more often than not a Sunday, ensuring lengthy queues and wait times.

The situation stands in stark contrast to that in Hong Kong, where migrant workers can use convenient stores and a number of apps to remit cash back home.

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Photo credit: 中央社
Kuomintang Taichung mayoral candidate Lu Shiow-yen is stepping down as a lawmaker.

Kuomintang (KMT) Taichung mayoral candidate Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) has announced her resignation as a lawmaker – saying the move demonstrates her determination to win Saturday's election.

Speaking to reporters following her announcement, Lu described the election as "a must-win race" and promised to make Taichung air pollution-free and to ensure the city no longer suffers from low wages and economic stagnation if elected.

Lu is the fourth lawmaker to resign and focus on the local government elections.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智), the DPP's Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Chen Chi-mai 陳其邁) and the KMT's candidate for Yunlin County Magistrate Chang Li-shan (張麗善) have also resigned to focus on the election.

The legislative seats left vacant by Yao and Lu must be filled through by-elections based on the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act, because there is more than a year before their terms are officially completed.

Under the act, legislative by-elections must be held within three months after a lawmaker resigns.

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Photo credit: Reuters / 達志影像
A volunteer sells t-shirts at a rally supporting the referendum on whether the island should participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the name 'Taiwan' rather than 'Chinese Taipei.'

Organizers of a referendum to change the name of the island's team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics from "Chinese Taipei" to "Taiwan" are claiming the move will not affect the team being allowed to participate at the Games.

The statement comes despite repeated warnings by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) indicating that it will not approve any name change that violates the 1981 Lausanne Agreement.

That agreement requires Taiwan to compete under the name "Chinese Taipei" and to fly the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee flag at all international sporting events.

However, referendum campaigner George Chang (張燦鍙) said the ballot is in line with both the Lausanne Agreement and the Olympic Charter and will not result in Taiwan being suspended or losing its IOC membership.

According to Chang, the IOC's comments are simply based on the international sporting body's "opinions" and are not a "formal ruling on the matter."

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A member of the legal group working with the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights is slamming a proposal to regulate same-sex marriage with a special law, describing it as "discriminatory."

Speaking at a public forum to debate the referendum proposal, Pan Tien-ching (潘天慶) described excluding same-sex couples from Taiwan's Civil Code as "racism" and that protecting same-sex marriage with a special law is a waste of social resources.

The referendum asks voters: "Do you agree to types of unions, other than those stated in the marriage regulations in the Civil Code, to protect the rights of same-sex couples who live together permanently?"

It was proposed by Tseng Hsien-ying (曾獻瑩), the president of the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation.

Tseng is denying his group is anti-LGBT, and said the referendum is aimed at protecting the rights and interests of a minority in a way he says "minimizes the harm caused to society."

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Read More: CARTOON: Voters Tasked with Cracking Marriage Equality Glass Ceiling

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Taiwan and the Marshall Islands have signed two new agreements to further enhance cooperation between the two countries.

The deals were signed by in Majuro by Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and his Marshall Islands counterpart John Silk.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two officials signed a bilateral cooperation agreement on policing, and another on strategic cooperation.

Under the new accords, Taiwan and the Marshall Islands will continue to expand existing cooperation and exchange on all fronts.

Wu arrived in the Marshall Islands on Monday to attend events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Wu wraps-up his three-day visit to the Marshall Islands today.

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The Shilin District Prosecutors' Office says Sun An-tso (孫安佐) could face additional charges here in Taiwan following his deportation from the United States.

The statement comes after the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania sentenced him to time-served and deportation on federal charges of possessing ammunition while on a non-immigrant visa.

Sun has also been barred from ever entering the U.S. again.

The teenager is now being held at an immigration detention center and is expected to be returned to Taiwan within the next six weeks.

Prosecutors said they will review Sun's case before making any final decision on whether to indict him.

Sun has been detained in the U.S. since his arrest in March.

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Taiwan is set to host an annual Asian anti-nuclear forum next year.

According to the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, the decision to host the No Nuke Asia Forum comes after Taiwan's upcoming referendum on nuclear power was a topic of popular discussion at this year's forum, which was held in the Philippines last week.

Union Chairman Liu Jyh-jian (劉志堅) said Taiwan's efforts to phase out nuclear energy garnered widespread support from members from Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and India.

The No Nuke Asia Forum was founded in 1993 and is an annual gathering that brings together experts and academics from various anti-nuclear groups from across the region.

The 26th Asian anti-nuclear forum is scheduled to be held toward the end of 2019.

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The Ministry of Labor announced the number of migrant workers surpassed 700,000 in October for the first time in 15 years.

Figures show that as of the end of last month, a total of 703,162 foreign workers were employed here in Taiwan.

Of that number 446,779 were employed in various industries while 256,383 were caregivers and domestic helpers.

Migrant workers, primarily from Southeast Asia, numbered around 600,000 in 2016.

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The Taiwan Stock Exchange announced it will close for 11 days during the Lunar New Year holiday next year.

The last trading day will take place Jan. 30 and the market will reopen on Feb. 11.

Based on statistics dating back to 2000, the only years in which the local market has had a holiday of 11 days occurred in 2002, 2007 and 2013.

Next year's Lunar New Year holiday period will be from Feb. 2 through 10.

Read Next: OPINION: The Races to Watch at This Weekend's Taiwan Elections

This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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