I got up again. Can I get back in the race?
I stopped off to see the nice people at the Banqiao immigration office today to ask what the skinny really is on getting an APRC. I was directed upstairs to the person who handles these, and after entering my passport number she did the sucking in of breath and tutting thing. I tried to smile.
It’s like this. I’ve been continuously employed by the same school for over five years, but had second jobs at the same time. One of these, back in 2004, decided to misreport how much they paid me. This meant that in 2005 I got a huge tax bill which I protested. Then I had a lot of discussions with the new owners of the offending school, who denied responsibility, and with the previous owners - who also denied responsibility. Eventually I got fed up and filed an appeal which was eventually upheld.
But in the meantime I had an unpaid tax bill, which meant I couldn’t get the certificate of tax paid which is required to renew a work permit. I got an extension, but on the day it expired I still didn’t have a resolution. Problem 1, I couldn’t get a flight the same day and ended up overstaying one day. But my lady friend at the immigration office didn’t mention this. She was concerned about problem 2: on arrival at the TECO in HK, I was told that they couldn’t give me a new visa because I had been working but didn’t have a new work permit and wasn’t a student. They eventually relented, on the grounds that I had to go back and pay my taxes and gave me the standard 2-month visa. (You have to love these people for finding reasons for helping you out.)
So I arrived back in Taipei to find my tax certificate waiting for me, and everything was processed and approved in due course without any further problems. However, I apparently was not resident in 2005 as a result. I had a visitor visa for a short period, which counts as a break in residency. At least that’s what my lady friend thinks. Therefore the clock started again after I got the new work permit and I can’t apply for my APRC until 5 years from that time.
Here’s what it says on the guidelines she gave me: Qualifications: Aliens who have legally and continuously resided in Taiwan for 5 years during which they have resided for over 183 days each year.
I was in Taiwan for more than 183 days of each year for the last five years. The tax office consider me to have been resident for each of those years. I was resident, in the country for more than 183 days, in 2005, but happened to have a visitor visa for a short period. The regulation doesn’t say “held a resident visa,” it says “resided in Taiwan.” I guess it’s just a matter of interpretation.
Can anyone offer any advice on how one might go about getting a more sympathetic interpretation that would make it possible to actually apply for the APRC? Is there any way to obtain some kind of ruling on whether I was or wasn’t resident? Is it worth hiring someone to help with pushing this through? etc.
In other words… heeeeeeelp!