Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Ex-employee at TFD faces deportation

A US citizen’s life in Taiwan turned into a legal nightmare after government agencies said he had worked illegally for the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy for years

A foreign national and single father to a Taiwanese son is facing deportation for allegedly working illegally for the government-linked Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) in a case that raises questions over how the government handled the case.

The problems for Ben Hlavaty, a US citizen, began when he and his Taiwanese spouse divorced in May 2008. Until then, Hlavaty had an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) through his marriage and did not need a work permit to work at the TFD, his employer since December 2007, when the Democratic Progressive Party was in power.

Aware that following his divorce his ARC would only be valid until Oct. 25 that year, Hlavaty informed his employer that if they wished him to continue working for them, TFD would have to help him apply for a work permit. The foundation subsequently contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), which founded the TFD in 2002, and asked it to assist Hlavaty.

For a while, it looked like Hlavaty would be able to continue working in Taiwan and provide for his son. Then there was a change in government in 2008, and nothing would ever be the same...

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

4 comments:

Michael Fagan said...

An illustration of how "rule of law" can so easily degrade to the law of rules. Draw your own implications.

Yet presumably Mr Hlavaty can't be having an easy time financially while this is going on - so is there some way we can help him out? I'm not exactly lounging around in swimming pools of cash myself, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd want to do something to help.

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...

@Mike: A very generous offer on your part. I'll let you know if I hear of any way by which people here can help out. I've already let Ben know that some people have offered to help. The hit count on the article is pretty good, which is encouraging.

Boris said...

That the TFD did not fully stand by him, and that also means MOFA, who managed and approved his TFD ARC visa application(the yearly LY enacted budget of the TFD being, god knows why, still officially registered under the MOFA's NGO Affairs Committee, the TFD can be considered a part of government and not an independent foundation)is appalling. Taiwan Foundation for WHAT? May I ask. This being said, there does possibly seem to have been something overlooked by his lawyer,which is the administrative procedures for handling government employees, oversight of which falls first under the Examination Yuan since MOFA is involved. If administrative rules for his employment were judged by the Examination Yuan to be improperly followed, only then does the case go to the Control Yuan, and then if necessary, to arbitration in court. If the Examination Yuan judges that the procedure was right, then what can the court say. Advantage to him. The court cannot say that MOFA was not involved, and therefore this case should apply for verification at the Examination Yuan, even if he is not a member of the civil service and only a contract employee. Under CSB, in 2006, a modification to the rules governing government contract employees was introduced, alas, to protect contractuals, who in the past could be dismissed for basically no reasons just at the whim of a superior. The amendment introduced in the Civil Service Act provides for a contractual to have the same right as a civil servant to contest whatever negative evaluation or reasons for his/her dismissal (e.g. non renewal of the yearly contract) provided (unlike for civil servants who can appeal on their own) a lawyer represents the contractual. I doubt the Examination Yuan could say it can't review the case or support the idea that his employment was illegitimate since it was processed by MOFA. Hope this applies and helps. For any legal clarification, you know who to contact.

Michael Fagan said...

"A very generous offer on your part."

Not really - I'm sure big Charlie will write me a cheque one of these days, and then I can get myself properly denounced in the Taipei Times, the Guardian etc...