The number of foreign nationals — excluding Chinese — in Taiwan stood at 648,000 at the end of last year, which was the highest level ever, according to statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior yesterday.
The number represented year-on-year growth of 9.4 percent, an increase of 56,000 people, the statistics show.
Of the total number, 524,000 held Alien Resident Certificates (ARC), while the others were on visitor’s or other types of visa, the data shows.
About 81.3 percent of the ARC holders were foreign workers, while 8.8 percent were spouses of Taiwanese nationals who had not acquired citizenship, according to the statistics.
The ARC holders in these two categories accounted for 73 percent of all foreign nationals in Taiwan, the ministry statement said.
Citing statistics, the ministry said the sources of foreign workers have changed over the past five years, but it did not give an explanation for the shift.
In 2006, the largest group of foreign workers was from Thailand, accounting for 27.42 percent, followed by the Philippines with 26.58 percent, Indonesia with 25.16 percent, and Vietnam with 20.82 percent, the ministry said.
Indonesia is now in top position with 41.21 percent of all foreign workers, followed by Vietnam (22.47 percent), the Philippines (19.46 percent) and Thailand (16.86 percent), the ministry said.