Tue, Jan 13, 2009 - Page 4 News List

COMMUNITY COMPASS: Foreigners still confused about consumer vouchers

QUALIFIED?Foreigners who hold a valid ARC and are married to a Taiwanese national who has a household registration will have voucher notices mailed to them

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

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With many foreign residents still confused about who qualifies to receive the NT$3,600 consumer vouchers that will begin to be issued on Sunday and where to obtain them, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) set up a hotline and created a Web page to answer questions.

“Which kinds of residents are getting a voucher? Just those who are here on resident visas, or do work-visa people who’ve been here a year also qualify?” Jason Cox, a US citizen married to a Taiwanese living and working in southern Taiwan on an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), asked in an e-mail to the Taipei Times

Cox was not the only foreign resident to ask this question — and in fact, he belongs to exactly the category of foreigners who are entitled to get consumer vouchers.

“Any foreign resident [with a valid ARC as of Dec. 31], whose spouse is a Taiwanese national with valid household registration in the country is entitled to receive the consumer vouchers,” the NIA said on its Web page.

The agency said that foreign residents married to Taiwanese nationals may still get the vouchers if his or her residency is still valid even after the death of the Taiwanese spouse.

“Where do we go to pick up the vouchers?” Cox asked.

“A qualified foreign resident may bring his or her ARC, the voucher notice and his or her personal seal to the distribution station designated on the notice to get the vouchers,” an NIA official surnamed Lin (林) who answered the NIA hotline said.

“If the foreign resident is unable to get the vouchers in person, he or she may ask a Taiwanese national to get his or her vouchers on his or her behalf,” Lin said. “The foreign resident must give written authorization by filling out the power of attorney attached to the notice, affix his or her personal seal on it and hand the document along with his or her ARC to the Taiwanese national.”

In the case where a qualified foreign national is unable to pick up the vouchers in person or arrange for someone else to get it for them on Sunday, “they may still get their vouchers at post offices designated on the notice between Feb. 7 and Apr. 30,” Lin said.

The set of vouchers consists of six NT$500 notes and three NT$200, for a total of NT$3,600. Each voucher may be used individually. No change will be given if the full sum is not used.

Additional information is available at http://aht.immigration.gov.tw/voucher/nia_2.html, the Ministry of the Interior’s consumer voucher toll-free hotline at 0800-883-600, or the NIA hotline at (02) 2331-9597.

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