TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Foreigners who are permanent residents in Taiwan, as well as diplomats, are eligible to receive Taiwan's stimulus vouchers until Dec. 31.
In July, Taiwan launched its "Triple Stimulus Vouchers" (振興三倍券) program to help stimulate Taiwan's sagging economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from Taiwanese citizens, the program initially also allowed foreign spouses to purchase an envelope of vouchers worth a total of NT$3,000 (US$101) for the price of NT$1,000.
In a gesture of goodwill toward foreign residents, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced at a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 12 that holders of Alien Permanent Resident Certificates (APRC) and diplomats could start purchasing the vouchers on Nov. 16.
Su said that he had included APRC holders due to their "deep connection to Taiwan," while diplomats were added to "extend the country’s warmth." As a result of the policy change, an estimated 11,600 APRC holders and 1,400 foreign diplomats in Taiwan will be able to take part in the voucher program.
APRC holders can purchase printed vouchers at post offices as long as they can present their APRC or National Health Insurance Card; alternatively, they can obtain them digitally with a credit card (which they can apply from Taiwan local banks), stored value card, or mobile payment. Diplomats will receive their coupons from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Those who spend NT$3,000 with their credit cards will receive a NT$2,000 deduction from the next month's bill, while users of contactless smart cards and mobile payment apps who spend NT$3,000 will receive NT$2,000 worth of credit deposited into their accounts, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs website. Those who opt for one of the digital payment methods, spend NT$3,000, and receive notice of eligibility, can use one of nearly 40 different types of bank cards issued by one of three banks at an ATM to receive a NT$2,000 cash reimbursement.
The vouchers can be purchased between Nov. 16 and Dec. 31 and can be used until Dec. 31. APRC-holding foreign spouses of Taiwanese who have already purchased the vouchers are not eligible to buy additional ones.
Su Wen-ling (蘇文玲), deputy director-general of the SMEA, told Taiwan News the printed vouchers can be used as money at almost "all stores" in Taiwan. The vouchers can also be used to make purchases at art exhibitions, sporting events, travel activities, and government-approved e-commerce platforms (for more details, check the Triple Stimulus Vouchers website).
Tisha Gogel, who is an American citizen originally from Las Vegas, said that given the toll that the pandemic is having on the economy, she appreciates the program what the government is doing to help out its citizens and permanent residents, especially inviting the APRC holders to join the vouchers program as well.
She said that she has gone through some difficult times, but said that she feels compelled to give back and follow a humanitarian philosophy: “You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.” Therefore, she said that she will use her stimulus vouchers to buy and distribute warm meals for the homeless this winter.
Tisha. (Photo submitted by Tisha)
Mark Wang, who is an American citizen, originally from California, moved to Taiwan when his Taiwanese wife decided their child should be born in her hometown of Tainan. He has lived in Taiwan for 10 years now.
When asked how he had spent his stimulus vouchers, he said he used some to "partake of a succulent dinner at TGIF." Wang said that because he works tirelessly to give Taiwanese youths the gift of the English language, he decided it was time to get a small reward of a tasty meal for himself.
Wang says he also treated his co-worker, an American educator, to some "delectable baby back pork ribs with all the ancillary side dishes." He said that he had enough vouchers left over to buy a pair of Nike basketball shoes.
Mark. (Mark Wang photo)
The Small and Medium Enterprise Administration (MOEA), which is managing the vouchers, urges foreign residents who are eligible to "seize the opportunity offered by the government" as soon as possible before the program ends on Dec. 31.
For more information, please visit the official Triple Stimulus Vouchers website.