More Taiwanese give up their American green cards

More and more Taiwanese people who have been waiting for green cards sponsored by their US-citizen families in America are deciding to give up their permanent resident status. With a weakened US economy and the skyrocketing cost of American healthcare on one side, offset by Taiwan’s affordable national health insurance and greater cross-strait stability on the other side, more people are declining their American green cards, according to the US-based Chinese language World Journal.

In the last couple of years, immigration lawyer Sheu Jiunn-liang said that many people have halted their immigration applications through their American relatives. The most frequently cited reason for applying initially was so their children would get a better education. But for those who applied for green cards via their US-citizen siblings, the average wait is a decade. When their application is finally approved, many of them are ready for retirement and their children have reached adulthood, so they are less inclined to immigrate. Even if some decide to immigrate to the US for the sake of the next generation, the parents will often return to Taiwan later to enjoy the island’s nationalized healthcare.

The requirements to qualify for American federal health insurance, such as Medicare, are also becoming more difficult to meet, reported the World Journal. Even if you get a green card, but have not paid tax before, you will not necessarily be qualified to receive the full set of benefits. Besides, all green card holders are required to report their global incomes, and the US has implemented stricter monitoring of overseas assets of its taxpayers in recent years. Such conditions have made obtaining a green card less appealing.

In addition, decreasing cross-strait tensions have also made people in Taiwan feel safer. Lawyer Levi C. Ying said, “Tensions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait before President Ma Ying-jeou took office and adopted rapprochement policy towards China in 2008 led to more Taiwanese people wanting to immigrate to America.” And, there used to be more advantages to being an American passport holder, since they could travel to many more countries without obtaining a visa. But now Taiwan has signed visa-free agreements with 124 countries, and having a US passport has lost its cachet, according to the paper.

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