Your country's representative in Taiwan

My country’s rep office is:

  • Excellent
  • Good enough
  • Capable of being cajoled into action
  • Unhelpful and / or rude
  • A pointless waste of taxpayers’ money
  • Non-existent

0 voters

How do you feel about the level of assistance offered to you by your country’s representative office or diplomatic mission in Taiwan ? Is it as good as the taxpayers of your country can reasonably expect, or is it woefully inadequate bordering on the nonexistent ?

Does your country’s diplomatic service sympathise with the difficulties you face here in Taiwan, or do they exhibit the attitude that you should “stay at home” ? Do you hark back to the days when your country’s equivalent of Lord Palmerston would send the gunboats in because your neighbour’s dog was keeping you up at night ? Does your country recognise the PRC as the legitimate government of the island of Taiwan, and use that as an excuse to ignore you ?

I have three passports which all have something like this written in them: “We request that you don’t crap on our citizens, and allow them to go about their business without let or hindrance, and assist and protect them as may be necessary.” How can foreign governments be expected to treat us well when our own governments disown us when we go abroad ?

Any thoughts ? Who would win the Best Foreign Representative Office in Taiwan Award ?

AIT falls into the woefully inadequate category. They are rude, unfriendly, and obviously think they live and work in a banana republic. And that’s how they treat their own citizens. I shudder to think how they treat the Taiwanese. I nominate them for worst of the lot.

We have Foreign Representatives in Taiwan???
Where are they hiding???
I know they exist but I have no proof of their being here.

Actually, these people do a lot of things behind the scenes. I have been aware of the British staff trying to find UK citizens who were missing etc., they were just… discrete about it. Just because they don’t show up on TV news in a new outfit every day (like some Village People reject) doesn’t mean they aren’t doing anything. If Mayor Ma would actually do something rather than concentrate on appearing to be doing something… he probably wouldn’t be the shoe-in he is :wink:

Ok - Brittish to the top - AIT to the bottom - NZ somewhere in the middle.

The British representative (ha, ha!) office definitely falls into the most woeful of woeful bracket. They work very hard at selling study courses in England and operating as a sometimes legal, sometimes illegal bushiban, and they take good care of visiting British VIPs, but they couldn’t give a damn about the average British expatriate, and would probably reel back in shock if you suggested to them that providing any kind of services to Taiwan’s British community formed any part of their mission here. Definitely a failing grade and a place at the bottom of the class.

My one experience of the British pseudo-consulate left me unimpressed. When renewing my passport, I was first ushered into a side room which may have been as a courtesy but seemed more like an interrogation as the “assistance officer” thumbed through my passport and asked a string of questions. And then, despite having a full British passport, the xiao jie told me, in no uncertain terms, that they could not give me another unless another British citizen in Taiwan endorsed my application.

I can’t see any benefit to travellers of these missions abroad. A friend of mine injured in the Bali bombing (and who appeared on the news in England) was told in a rude and unhelpful manner by the British Embassy in Jakarta when asking about getting home: “What you need there is a travel agent.”

Now if that had been me, I would have moved heaven and earth and made it my life’s work to get that guy sacked. Anyone who remembers the 1997 riots in Jakarta may also remember the British government’s pathetic response to that emergency.

It is quite clearly beneath the dignity of such people to assist the very people that pay their wages. Having said that, I found the British Consulate General in Shanghai to be surprisingly helpful.

Back to Taiwan:

What about Australia, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, NZ ? Or France, Germany, etc ?

I have been made aware of AIT’s unofficial policy of discriminating against Taiwanese women who seek U.S. visas. It seems the women are more likely than the men to find an American fiance(e) after their arrival, and then apply to change their visa status. AIT is apparently supposed to screen out people who may do this, it makes them look bad. I wish there was some U.S. lobby group that could raise hell about this.

People from small countries are much luckier. I applied for new passports for my daughters. The only questions about the thing was how high they were. As I couldn’t reach my wife, the official and I did some guesswork together and put that down in the application.

The Irish office

might as well have a bag of spuds sitting in there for all they do

As far as the British office in Taipei goes, I’m sure part of the problem is that the key members of staff are sent out fom the UK, know bugger all about where they’re going, hate it when they get here, adopt an attitude of sneering contempt for what in their eyes is a godforsaken backwater, look down with even greater disdain on any fellow countryman who is wretched enough to be here of his own volition, and live only for the day when they can pack their bags and move on to greener pastures. So, they exert themselves only to perform their sales-office and welcome-the-VIP-visitor functions, from which they can hope to curry favour with their superiors here and masters back home and thereby expedite the longed-for day of being posted to something better. But they will not deign to put themselves out or stoop to providing services for the minnows whose existence cannot serve their own interests and whose piffling needs they scorn.

I’d love to be presented with some concrete evidence that they are not as bad as the impression they have so far made on me, both directly and indirectly, suggests. But I won’t hold my breath waiting.

While I have a few gripes about AIT, this is not one of them. I read somewhere that AIT in Taipei issues more visas than any other US embassy or consulate anywhere in the world. There is not really an “unofficial” policy of discriminating against Taiwanese women at AIT. In fact, the policy is official, but it isn’t aimed at women, necessarily.

Most complaints re AIT’s refusal to issue visas to Taiwanese women probably are related to applications for B-1/B-2 visas, which are business/tourist visas. If the applicant is applying for a B visa for the purpose of touring the US, he or she must state an intention to NOT remain in the US past the expiration date of the visa.

Practical experience has taught the officials that not everyone is completely honest :shock: when applying for a visa to visit the US. Thus, the officials look at a set of factors in determining whether or not an applicant has the requisite “intent” to return to Taiwan after visiting the US. These factors include, generally, ties that the applicant has to Taiwan, such as a job or business, marital status, family, home, applicant’s age etc…

If the applicant cannot demonstrate to the official’s satisfaction that he or she has sufficient ties to Taiwan that would reasonably lead to the conclusion that the applicant will return to Taiwan, the visa application will often be denied, regardless of the applicant’s gender.

It should also be noted that while immigration matters and policy are administered by the INS in the US, it is State Department officials (or State Department officials on sabbatical, in the case of AIT) who screen and process visa applications in embassies and consulates (and the AIT) outside of the US. In some instances, State Department officials manning the embassies and consulates have a “different” understanding of the US Immigration and Nationality Act than do the INS officials in the US.

Anyway, my main gripe re AIT is that they don’t keep their US Citizen Services desk open during lunch hours :x

Anyone from AIT wanna comment or correct?

So far only applied for a new passport at the German Institute and the whole process was hassle free. Didn’t get served any tea so it’s “Good enough”.
Oh, they did sent me some invitation to the reunification celebration but didn’t like the idea of a dress code …

Friend of mine called up the British trade and culture office for advice about how to set up a company in Taiwan. They said they didn’t know. Any idea then on where to get that information? Again, ‘don’t know’.

So he called up AIT and they were very helpful. They didn’t mind that he was not an American.

Was that the German reunification, or are they already planning a knees-up for the Chinese one? :wink:

I have had occasion to visit both the Irish and British “representative offices” this is what happened

Haven’t had too much to do with the German office. I once went there to get a certified copy of my passport, they did it but they weren’t too nice. However, when I tried to apply for a new passport through them, I was told that it would take ages and be quite expensive because I’m still registered in Germany (I applied for it and got it hassle-free when I went to see my parents). The guy on the telephone wasn’t exactly helpful, neither was he when I enquired about driver’s licences. Their website is quite okay, though.

I also got that invitation for Reunification Day or whatever you call it in English, 3 October, (artificial) holiday of the German reunion. I went there (I don’t think anybody paid too much attention to dress code though it was mentioned on the invitation), but there were so many people, I was close to running away, never had such a feeling of claustrophobia before. It got much better after people started leaving, so I grabbed whatever was left of the really gorgeous food.

I have heaps of gratitude for the German Business association here. The whole team is very nice and very helpful with whatever you want to know.

So it’s 9/10 for the German Business association but 3/10 for the other guys (heard they just got a new boss, so maybe it’ll change for the better).

Germany is unfortunately very focused on doing business with the PRC, so I doubt that Taiwan will rise in significance for the German government in the near future.

My 3 NT

Sorry for the somewhat OT post. From this experience, would you just mail straight to HK for a new passport? Mine’s almost full, so have jump through this hoop soon.

The UK does not approve of posting passports across international borders, though whether Taiwan-HK counts is another matter. A British citizen does have to counter-sign an overseas application, though, wherever it’s done.