Visitor visa question

Ok, I’m just curious as to when the regulations regarding visitor visa to resident visa have changed.

Basically, I went to the BOCA in KHH on friday to change my VV to a resident one. The lady there told me that I don’t need to do that at BOCA anymore~I just do it at the NIA in Pingtung (since I live there). I went today, and I asked about changing my visitor visa to a resident visa and the officer told me it wasn’t necessary and then had me fill out an ARC application to get my ARC back and gave me back my passport (my old visa/arc were canceled in oct so I got a visitor visa in Macau in the begining of Nov).

I’m just wondering when this changed cuz 3 years ago, I had to change my old student visa into a resident visa and had to pay $5000+ (since im from the USA) but this time, I only paid the ARC fee…

Strange. My boss definitely had to pay $5000 to change my VV into a Resident Visa back in January, and my girlfriend paid around $3000 to change her VV into a student Resident Visa in May. If the rules have changed, it was quite recently.