Tue, Feb 19, 2013 - Page 5 News List

FEATURE: Language barrier a problem for foreigners in Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA

To better assist foreigners and make their lives easier, the National Immigration Agency launched its “Information For Foreigners in Taiwan” Web site in 2005, which contains information on different aspects of living in Taiwan.

The agency also has a 24/7 hotline providing services in English and Mandarin.

Agency officials said they have been working to make the Web site more useful and better able to meet the needs of foreigners in Taiwan.

Information on sorting garbage, keeping pets and contingency measures after the loss of passports and others might be added to the Web site, they said.

More languages could also be made available on the Web site, which currently has Chinese, English and Japanese versions, the officials said.

The Taipei City Government added that foreigners facing difficulties or inconveniences in the capital can call the toll-free 1999 citizen hotline for help. Available in English and Japanese, the hotline provides services ranging from city affairs to assistance in daily life.

The Directorate-General of Personnel Administration, whose Web site provides information in Mandarin on whether schools and offices are closed on typhoon days in every city and county in Taiwan, said it would consider launching an English version of the service.

Last month, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei released its latest report on the quality of life in Taiwan, in which it listed the pros and cons.

“Taiwanese are extremely nice” was ranked the top benefit for the second consecutive year this year, and surveyed business leaders also praised the country’s safety, ease of living, quality health and dental services and reliable electricity supplies.

However, they also expressed concern about the “English-friendly” environment, flood controls, quality drinking water, financial services and reliability of sewer systems.

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