A government-run information hotline for foreign residents has in the first 10 months of the year received nearly eight times the number of calls it had in the same period last year, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday.
From January to October, the hotline (0800-024-111) received 287,056 calls, the majority of which were concerning questions about policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.
The high volume of calls this year was in sharp contrast to the trend in the previous few years, where the Internet and other means of accessing information had led to a reduction in the number of calls received annually, it said.
The ministry began offering information on pandemic response measures in a variety of languages through the hotline starting on Jan. 28, it said.
Although there were 5,815 fewer foreign residents in Taiwan as of last month compared with the same month last year, there are still 851,780 foreign residents in the nation, meaning that demand for information on border control measures has been high, it said.
The National Immigration Agency has also set up information counters on the measures at government offices throughout the nation, through which it also provides referral services, the ministry said.
The majority of calls (63 percent) concerned questions related to the impact of pandemic response measures on Alien Resident Certificate and Alien Permanent Residence Certificate holders, while 9.4 percent pertained to government benefits and 7.6 percent were related to health services, it said.
Most calls were from people in Taipei, followed by New Taipei City and Hualien, the ministry said.
The hotline provides services in Cambodian, English, Indonesian, Japanese, Mandarin, Thai and Vietnamese, it said, adding that English, Japanese and Mandarin services are available 24 hours per day, every day.
Services in Vietnamese are available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, while services in Cambodian, Indonesian and Thai are available Monday to Friday from 1pm to 5pm, except on public holidays.
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