TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan government's planned change of the numbering system for its Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) to match the Taiwan national identification card is to go into effect by October 2020, announced the National Development Council (NDC) on Tuesday (Nov. 5).
Speaking at the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) on Tuesday, NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said the ARC number format has been a troubling issue for foreign nationals, an issue that has been raised by many foreign chambers of commerce, reported CNA. ECCT Chief Executive Officer Freddie Hoeglund said the organization welcomed the change because the new format would give foreign residents improved access to online services, currently only available to Taiwan ID cardholders.
In October 2018, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) said it would change the ARC numbering system from two letters and an eight-digit number, to one letter and a nine-digit number to match the format of Taiwanese national ID cards. MOI said it would coordinate with all departments and relevant business associations to integrate the changes into the information systems of both the private and public sectors.
The advantage of altering the numbering system to put it in sync with Taiwan ID numbers would be to make it easier for foreigners living in Taiwan to fill out online registration systems, book reservations, make bank transactions, purchase travel insurance, participate in credit card promotions, and sign up for online job banks.
As for the current number of people holding ARCs in Taiwan, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) estimates there are about 690,000 migrant workers, more than 30,000 white-collar wage earners, and about 300,000 new immigrants who have not yet obtained national ID cards. Therefore, when the new version of the residence permit goes into effect in October next year, it is estimated that about 1 million people will benefit.
Officials have yet to address how the number change will help when foreigner IDs use 7, 8 or 9 for the second character, while citizen IDs use 1 or 2. Without a major overhaul, systems that require verification of the second character may still be unusable by foreigners.