This doesn’t sound accurate to me.
I applied for my Open Work Permit immediately after receiving my APRC back in the day.
The APRC and the OWP do not expire.
However, you have to get new ones re-issued every time your passport expires because you get a new passport with a different passport number.
So, every time my passport expired and I got a new one, I would then go to the NIA to apply for a new APRC which reflected the new passport number. Then, I would go to get a new OWP issued based on my new passport number and corresponding APRC. That’s it.
In my opinion, there is no reason for you to be told that your OWP is not valid.
Have you had to renew your passport since the time you received your APRC and hopefully applied for and received your OWP?
Does your APRC have your current valid passport number on it?
You do have an actual paper OWP in your hand, right? Does the OWP have your current valid passport number on it?
If your APRC and your OWP all have the same current valid passport number on them, you should be good to go.
The Workforce Development Agency shouldn’t know whether or not your OWP is currently valid or not. The only way they could suggest that your OWP is no longer valid is if they know your passport number has changed and therefore the passport numbers no longer match. But, how would they know that?
Questions: As for being out of Taiwan for over two years.
Have you applied for an extended leave, so you don’t lose your APRC status?
Did you obtain your APRC through marriage or employment?
I believe that acquisition of APRC through employment affords you 5 years of absence without requesting a leave, whereas acquisition of APRC through marriage does require applying for a leave of absence.
I think someone who didn’t know what they were talking about gave you the normal Taiwanese 差不多 response.