A number of different support services are available to foreign residents, and the government is also becoming more aware of the needs of the expat community
There are a few different telephone numbers in Taiwan for the emergency services, depending on the nature of your emergency:
- 110 for police assistance
- 119 for fire or ambulance
- 112 is a general purpose emergency number that will work even if you don’t have a SIM card in your phone
- 113 for the domestic violence hotline (provides first response and counselling)
- In the event of any language difficulties, you can call the Information for Foreigners hotline on 0800-024-111 and they will contact the relevant emergency services for you.
- Your local branch of the Foreign Affairs Police is listed in the Taiwanease Directory
The Taiwanese government offers some support to foreign residents who don’t speak Mandarin well or at all. The most important of these is the International Community Service Hotline, a free service that runs 24 hours a day in Mandarin, English, and Japanese. The staff speak excellent English and are able to answer questions on a whole range of topics including visas, healthcare, taxes, work and much more. The hotline number is 0800-024-111 and the service is often the first port of call for foreign residents with questions or problems. If they are unable to answer your question on the spot, they will normally call you back with an answer later in the day. The online version of this support can be found at iff.immigration.gov.tw, though it is often quicker to call the helpline to explain your needs.
In an emergency situation foreign nationals can contact their representative office for assistance. Because of Taiwan’s limited diplomatic relations with many countries, these offices are usually styled as trade or cultural missions, rather than embassies. Nevertheless, they offer many of the same services as embassies in other parts of the world. The Embassies and Foreign Missions category on the Taiwanease website has details of all the national representative offices in Taiwan.
Community Services Center
Based in northern Taipei, the Community Services Center is a non-profit organisation that offers information, advice, and support for foreigners in Taiwan, including orientation courses for new arrivals.
This book is simply an introduction for those considering a move to Taiwan. Of course you will have more questions about life and travel in Taiwan, and there are some invaluable sources around to help you. The travel guides mentioned in the section on Guide Books above offer some excellent information about the island, and the government’s Tourism Bureau can also be helpful with suggestions to visitors.
Information for Foreigners
Government-run information site covering common topics of interest to foreign residents, like visas, taxation, work rights, and tourism.
Photo by BuzzFarmers.