The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA, 經濟部) on Sept. 22 announced the upcoming release of Quintuple Stimulus Vouchers (五倍券) which will be distributed for free to some foreigners but not to migrant workers and foreign students.
《四方報》先前整理，符合下列四種身份者能獲得五倍券，包括1. 不限年齡，具有中華民國國籍的人。2. 2022年4月30日之前出生。 3.具有居留權的外籍配偶。 4.持永久居留證的外籍人士。因此外籍配偶和擁有永久居留證的外籍人士，都有資格使用五倍券。據悉，持有「有效永久居留證者」及「外交官員證者」等約一萬三千名外籍人士都能在此次發放的五倍券中獲得使用權利。
According to regulations compiled by 4-Way Voice, the MOEA had listed four types of people that are eligible for the vouchers.
One, all Taiwanese citizens.
Two, Taiwan children born before April 30, 2022.
Three, foreign spouses with valid resident permits in Taiwan (ARC, 居留證).
Four, foreigners with Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC, 永久居留證) or with diplomats certification.
Migrant workers and foreign students in Taiwan, however, find themselves excluded from the benefits of the vouchers.
There are nearly 700,000 migrant workers in Taiwan, most of whom work in factories or as caregivers for the elderly, making a significant contribution to Taiwan’s economy and long-term care sector.
The impact of the epidemic on the already economically disadvantaged groups is significant as well, but they are not included in the government’s program.
Many of the tens of thousands of foreign students in Taiwan come from low-income families and rely on part-time jobs to earn a living.
During the previous outbreak, the country’s epidemic warning level reached Level 3, leaving many foreign students without financial resources. Yet, they are again excluded from the government’s subsidies.
A Vietnamese student currently in Taiwan studying for a master’s degree, surnamed Nguyen, told 4-Way Voice that she felt it was “unfair and a bit sad” that foreign students could not receive the quintuple stimulus vouchers.
In fact, she said, the problem of the declining birthrate in Taiwan is very serious, and it is beneficial for immigrants or other foreigners to be in Taiwan, not only to solve the problem of manpower shortage but also to pay a lot of fees such as income tax for foreigners who have jobs.
“I think we should also receive government subsidies, especially for students,” she said.
Meanwhile, Lennon Ying-Dah Wong, Director of the Department of Policies on Migrant Workers, Serve the People Association, Taoyuan (SPA) pointed out, whether it was the triple stimulus vouchers from last year or the quintuple vouchers this year, since the target is, in fact, the trades and industries affected by the epidemic, and the nationals are also subsidized, then it should be available to everyone in Taiwan so that all the people in Taiwan can get the best.
He explained, “On the one hand, workers in various industries can receive more concrete benefits; on the other hand, migrant workers and foreign students in Taiwan are actually faced with even more difficulties in Taiwan as most of their home countries have been hit hard by the pandemic.”
“In this case, migrant workers may have to take on larger household responsibilities, and the financial support that international students can receive from their families may be much less, or they may have to become completely self-sufficient,” Wong said.
“In addition, all of them will be unable to return to their home countries for a long time because of the epidemic.”
Wong further stated, “While citizens and foreign spouses are deemed eligible to receive quintuple stimulus vouchers, migrant workers and foreign students are not able to do the same.”
“This sense of relative deprivation is very painful for them and makes them feel even more excluded from Taiwan society.”
He called on the government to fix last year’s mistake of triple stimulus vouchers so that all people living and working in Taiwan can enjoy the benefits of quintuple vouchers.
If 700,000 migrant workers and tens of thousands of foreign students can acquire quintuple stimulus vouchers, stores across Taiwan will benefit from it even more.