NIA warns migrant workers of deportation for riding bikes drunk

Taipei, The Tainan branch of the National Immigration Agency (NIA) warned migrant workers on Friday not to operate any vehicle, including bicycles, while under the influence of alcohol, as they can easily be deported after being caught in the act.

The more aggressive policy reflects a recent change in how Taiwan's courts are handling violations of the law committed by migrant workers, according to the NIA.

In a statement, the office said a Vietnamese woman who worked at a factory in Tainan was caught in April riding an electric bicycle while intoxicated, which is illegal in Taiwan even if licenses are not required for bikes.

She was sentenced to two months in jail or could alternatively pay a fine for the offense, the statement said.

Though the Vietnamese woman thought that paying the fine would be the end of the case, the court sent a notice of her conviction to the Ministry of Labor (MOL), which canceled her work permit.

Once her work permit was canceled, the NIA also had to suspend her resident permit, and she was forced to leave the country within a month of the court's decision.

According to a NIA source, it has recently become a common practice for the courts to send notices of legal violations of migrant workers to the MOL, which results in them ultimately being forced to leave the country because they no longer have valid permits to be in Taiwan.

Previously, courts did not alert ministries to the legal violations, enabling migrant workers to continue to work in Taiwan after doing time or paying the fine, the NIA source told CNA.

A total of 56 migrant workers in Tainan were deported for drunk driving or bike riding last year, and 27 have been deported for the same violations in the first four months of 2018 alone, the MOL's Tainan branch noted.

There is no available data for Taiwan as a whole, as the Tainan branch was the first to take the initiative to begin recording these cases.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel