ARC number format to be changed next year
Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) A government plan to change the format of the Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) number to match that of the Taiwan national ID card will be implemented in October 2020, the National Development Council (NDC) said Tuesday.
The issue of the ARC format has been a troubling one for foreign nationals in Taiwan and has been raised many times by the foreign chambers of commerce, NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said at the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT), which was releasing its annual position paper.
On the ARC and Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC), the number, which comprises two letters and eight digits, will be changed to one letter and nine digits, same as on the Taiwan ID card, Chen said.
In response, ECCT Chief Executive Officer Freddie Hoeglund said the chamber welcomed the change, as it would give foreign nationals greater access to online services, which often do not accept the current format.
"This is something actually that we have been driving for over 10 years," he said. "These issues are very difficult to push forward because it expands over all government agencies and also within the private sector."
ECCT Chief Executive Officer Freddie Hoeglund (left) and Chairman Giuseppe Izzo
When the plan takes effect in October 2020, about 1 million ARC and APRC holders will be issued the new numbers, according to Ministry of the Interior (MOI) statistics.
They include 690,000 migrant workers, 30,000 foreign professionals and 300,000 foreign spouses of Taiwanese citizens who have not yet obtained national IDs, the ministry's data shows.
Meanwhile, in a briefing on the ECCT position paper, Chairman Giuseppe Izzo said the chamber is in generally satisfied with the government's efforts to address issues raised by the ECCT over the years.
However, more can be done, particularly to remove unequal and discriminatory treatment of foreign nationals, he said.
This includes making a shift from the "national versus foreigner" mindset to a "tax resident" versus "non-tax resident" mindset when it comes to deciding who is eligible for government benefits, Izzo said.
For example, senior foreign residents should be granted the same discounts as elderly Taiwanese for high speed rail travel, he said.
In the position paper, the ECCT also suggested greater flexibility in Taiwan's regulations on work hours so as to attract and retain foreign talent.
In particular, it said, the wind energy sector needs to be added to the list of industries exempt from the weekly regular leave day requirements so that businesses in that sector can better schedule their work in the field of offshore construction.
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