Tue, May 15, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Criminal record charge ‘ridiculous’

By Lin Ching-lun and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The NT$100 charge for the issuance of a clear criminal record certificate is too high, an Yilan County resident surnamed Wang (王) said, calling it the “most expensive piece of A4 paper in history.”

The certificate is an A4-sized piece of paper with a stamp on it, Wang said, asking: “Why does that cost NT$100?”

“If you apply for a household certificate from the household registration office, which is also A4-sized, it only costs NT$15,” Wang said. “In comparison, the clear criminal record certificate is ridiculously overpriced.”

The certificates used to be requested mainly for immigration or study-abroad purposes, so there were not many applications.

However, after the New Party proposed excluding felons from running for office and requiring nominees to present clear criminal record certificates, many businesses began requiring that incoming employees provide the certificate, causing the number of requests to increase.

The county government previously issued an average of 3,000 to 4,000 certificates each year, with the majority of applicants being employees in the lottery or hotel industries, followed by foreign migrant workers.

However, that number increased to 5,758 last year, government data showed.

The first copy of the certificate costs NT$100 and a second copy costs NT$20, but only if requested on the same occasion.

The Foreign Affairs Division of the county government’s Police Bureau, which is the only agency in the county that processes such applications, said that each copy of the certificate used to cost NT$250.

The charges are set by the central government, which maintains the right to decide whether the fee is lowered or raised, it said, adding that the bureau has not received any complaints about the charge.

According to government regulations, offices have two-and-a-half business days to issue clear criminal record certificates, the division said.

Yilan County is the only place in the country that issues the certificate immediately if the applicant has no criminal record and saves people the trouble of returning to the office, it said.

The certificate might only be a page or two if the applicant has no criminal record, the Ministry of the Interior’s National Police Agency said.

However, for applicants with an extensive criminal record, the labor cost of confirming the record with judicial and law enforcement agencies is higher, it said, adding that the fee was set with these considerations in mind.

These types of fees are approved by the ministry and the Ministry of Finance, but are regularly reassessed according to the price index and other indicators, it added.

Additional reporting by Cheng Hung-ta

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