Expatriates in Taiwan urge officials to lower credit thresholds
Friday, February 15, 2013
Taiwan is a popular destination for expatriates. Relatively low property prices, increasing availability of jobs and a comparatively stable political climate have boosted the region's allure for international workers and retirees, making it one of the fastest-growing areas in the world for expatriate immigration. Banking can be tricky, which is why many foreign nationals in cities like Taipei urged financial officials to make it easier for them to apply for lines of credit, according to The China Post.
The news source reports that many expatriates believe Taiwanese banks are making it too difficult for them to take advantage of financial services. Restrictions on international usage of locally issued debit cards and a lack of online fund transfers are among the problems expatriates face when banking in Taiwan, according to the news source.
Benoit Girardot, a manager at a medical equipment company in Taiwan, told the news outlet that life in Taiwan is generally very convenient for expatriates, but more must be done to address the shortcomings faced by foreign nationals in the financial services sector.
Credit card applications are among the most urgent problems facing expatriates living and working in Taiwan. Banks in the region have had free reign to issue loans and other lines of credit to international residents since 2007, resulting in the need for many expatriates to have cosigners for credit cards and restrictions on how and where they can access their money. Even something as simple as applying for a cellphone can often require a cosignatory borrower, making the process difficult for many expatriates.
A series of challenges
Restrictions on personal banking and borrowing are not the only obstacles expatriates face in Taiwan. The news source reported in a separate article that many foreigners struggle to adapt to life in the region due to the lack of bilingual signage and English announcements.
Paul Groff, an American who teaches English in Taiwan, said that there is no English-language website with crucial information for foreign nationals. As a result, he has resorted to disposing of his household waste illegally in the past, as the specific rules and regulations concerning refuse collection have been too difficult for a non-native speaker to interpret. Furthermore, most of the road signs in major cities are in Mandarin, which can result in confusion for expatriate motorists.
However, despite these challenges, Taiwan is likely to remain a popular choice for foreign nationals from around the world. Affordable property such as furnished extended stay units and serviced apartments make the region attractive to immigrants seeking a new life in Southeast Asia.