The Ministry of National Defense said yesterday that it has relaxed its rules for volunteer military recruitment, including age, height and tattoo restrictions, as part of efforts to meet a recruitment target of 10,557 this year.
There will be eight selection stages, with applications being accepted from Feb. 20, said Pai Chieh-lung (白捷隆), a human resources official at the ministry.
The upper age limit for volunteer soldiers will be raised from 28 to 32, and the ministry will provide training programs to help them win promotion to non-commissioned officer and will extend the service period from 10 to more than 25 years, Pai said.
The height requirement for honor guards and marching bands will be changed from 178cm-195cm to 176cm-200cm, he added.
The ministry will also allow tattoos smaller than 5cm in length and width, as long as they can be concealed by short-sleeved shirts and shorts.
The regulations prohibiting anyone with a criminal record that required confinement from joining the military have also been abolished, Pai said.
A printed brochure on the nation’s military system, volunteer program and recruitment requirements is to be distributed to high schools, government offices and metro stations, the ministry said.
Taiwan plans to shift to an all-volunteer force by 2017. It originally planned for the transition to be completed by 2015, but pushed the date back due to lower-than-expected recruitment numbers.
The government has been offering incentives for young people to pursue a military career. For example, on Jan. 1, the government raised monthly allowances for volunteer soldiers and non-commissioned officers by between NT$2,000 and NT$4,000.