Taiwan Life in Brief – December 2021

Although over 77% of Taiwan’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, borders remain closed for most foreign nationals without an ARC. Photo: Martti Chen

Migrant Worker Entry Ban Lifted

The Ministry of Labor (MOL) granted Indonesian migrant workers entry to Taiwan in November, ending an entry ban that had been in place since December 2020. The MOL indicated that Thailand will likely be the next country exempted from the ban, followed by Vietnam and the Philippines. According to the most recent MOL figures, Vietnamese nationals working in manufacturing represent the largest segment of migrant works in Taiwan, followed by Indonesian health and social service workers and Filipino manufacturing workers.

In anticipation of the influx of Taiwanese nationals returning home for the Lunar New Year, entry for migrant workers may again be suspended from December 14 to February 14, depending on quarantine facility availability.

Taiwan To Host Asia’s  First ‘Worldpride’

Kaohsiung has been selected to host international LGBTQ+ event WorldPride 2025, marking the first time the 10-day biennial festival will be held in East Asia. According to a statement from Kaohsiung Pride, the organization that won the bid to host WorldPride, the event is expected to attract millions of international visitors, potentially generating up to NT$1 billion (US$36 million) in economic benefits. It will feature parades, concerts, and other cultural activities that promote LGBTQ+ pride.

Kaohsiung’s selection as WorldPride host recognizes Taiwan’s leadership in human rights in East Asia and should increase visibility and awareness of the LGBTQ+ community in the region, offering the chance for millions from neighboring Asian countries to participate in the celebrations.

Parties Tap Taichung By-Election Candidates

Former legislator Lin Ching-yi has been selected by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to run as the party’s nominee for Taichung’s second electoral district Legislative Yuan seat. A by-election will be held on January 9 following the recent recall of Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei.

Lin previously served a term as a legislator-at-large from 2016 to 2020. She also headed the DPP’s women’s development and international affairs departments.

The nominee of the Chinese National Party (KMT), former legislator Yen Kuan-heng, held the seat from 2013 to 2020, losing it to Chen Po-wei in last year’s election. His fight to retake the position following Chen’s recall is supported by KMT Chairman Eric Chu and Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen.

Vaccine Rate Up, But Borders Still Closed

As of early December, over 77% of Taiwan’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with more than half of Taiwanese fully vaccinated with two doses. However, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung has warned that the two-dose vaccination rate may not reach 80% by the end of the year, ruling out a relaxation of border restrictions.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced in November that current COVID-19 pandemic-related entry restrictions will be extended through at least February 14, 2022. Most foreign nationals without an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) will be barred from entering Taiwan, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis.

International arrivals to Taiwan have dropped by about 90% from a high of over 11 million in 2019 to 3.9 million in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. This year Taiwan has recorded just 335,000 international visitors.