A plan to bring Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) numbers in line with that of national ID cards is likely to take effect by the first half of next year, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said on Monday.
To accommodate the new numbering system for the cards, data in government computer systems and drop-down menus on government Web sites would have to be modified, Hsu said by telephone.
“We have been talking to the Cabinet for approval to pay for the project from a reserve fund,” Hsu said. “We hope to get the project started by the end of this year.”
Hsu last week announced the plan in an interview with Taiwan Business Topics, a monthly magazine published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei.
The change would affect more than 1 million ARC and APRC holders — 690,000 migrant workers, 30,000 foreign professionals and 300,000 foreign spouses of Taiwanese who have yet to obtain national IDs — the Ministry of the Interior said.
Hsu said that the measure is part of the government’s efforts to create a friendly living environment for foreign nationals, because it would make their lives easier and increase their sense of belonging.
However, the proposal has been met with mixed reactions, because cardholders would have to change the ID number they use to enroll in the health and labor insurance programs, open a bank account, subscribe to telephone and Internet plans, apply for a driver’s license and a work permit, and gain access to other services.
The national ID number currently consists of a letter and nine numbers, while ARCs and APRCs consist of two letters followed by an eight numbers, which is not always accepted by online registration or booking systems.
Asked how the program would be implemented, a National immigration Agency official said that the agency would try to “minimize any inconvenience caused to ARC or APRC holders.”
All ARC holders would be assigned a new number when they renew their card, which is valid for up to three years, said the official, who requested anonymity because she was not authorized to speak about the issue publicly.
ARC holders would also be allowed to get a card with a new number before their old card expires, she said.
APRC holders would not be required to change the number if they do not want to, because the card does not expire, the official said.
“I absolutely welcome the change,” Eiger Law public relations manager Lloyd Roberts said via e-mail.
“I’m not sure why they did this [used a different format] in the first place. They should have done this years ago,” he added.
A US citizen who has lived in Taiwan for more than 25 years, Roberts said he has encountered problems using his APRC number when booking hotel rooms and applying for banking and insurance services.
“For example, it is impossible to buy travel insurance online with several of the travel insurance companies. Usually, I have to call them and make a special request and then they fax me the forms to fill out,” Roberts said.
In another example, a credit card company might run a special promotion and require people to sign up online, but most of the time “you can’t enter in your APRC number,” Roberts said.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly