Tag Archives: foreigners

Work in Taiwan – Don’t Bring Family

You want to move to Taiwan to take up a job?

Taiwan is indeed looking for foreign talent in a number of fields. So if you have a degree or several years of experience in a relevant field, are single, independent and a bit adventurous then that’s a step worth considering. You just need to find a company that is willing and able to hire you and you could be on your way to skin touch with Asia, real-time.

Taiwan is a pretty nice country to live in. It’s a safe place, cost of living is okay, people are nice, the climate is bearable most of the time, quite some nature is left in the mountainous center and at the east coast… not bad at all.

 You’ll receive a work permit and a temporary residency certificate (ARC) for the length of your contract. You will also be eligible to join the national health insurance.

 After 5 years of work you are eligible to apply for a permanent residency certificate (APRC) which comes with an open work permit – independent of a specific employer.


There are a few caveats, however. If you have family then the situation is less clear cut. Taiwan is interested in you and your skills. Your spouse and children – if you must bring them – will be tolerated with a smile.

To put it bluntly (just this one time):


Of course, in general things start out easy when you arrive and your kids are young. However, there are considerable differences in legal status between you and them and local Taiwanese.

  • Your spouse will not be allowed to work, not even part time – unless he/she goes through the ARC application process again, as an individual white collar worker, independent of marriage and family. There is no work permit for part time jobs.
  • Taiwan children can take up part time work once they turn 15. Your children will not have that right.
  • Foreigners – you and all members of your family – are not allowed to volunteer for any reason.
  • You cannot work in a job other than the one for which you received a permit.
  • Children of foreigners are barred from entering national competitions.
  • Foreigners are not allowed to engage in any activities other than those covered by their visa. For example, you can’t participate in rallies etc.
  • Your family’s legal status completely depends on you being alive and healthy. Should anything happen to you (perish the thought) they will have to leave the country fairly quick.
  • Once your children turn 20, they are no longer considered dependent on you and will have to apply for work and residency permits on their own – on the same terms as you had to when you first came.
  • Family or not – legally residing foreigners (even though paying taxes to the government) do not qualify for all government support and services that Taiwanese citizens enjoy.

The list is not necessarily exhaustive but it covers the main trouble areas. By breaking one of these rules your risk deportation.

Nothing changes for your family after you receive permanent residency rights. Your spouse will continue with his/her temporary permit which entirely depends on you. No work permit. Also not for the children, neither part nor full time. And if something happens to you, perish the thought, they have to get on a plane.

The point about children becoming legally independent (at age 20) is worth additional attention. There is a follow-up article on this topic so here I will be brief:

This situation may be in the distant future when you arrive in Taiwan. Kids go to kindergarten or school, your spouse is busy taking care of the family but life goes on and it takes no time at all for the kids to turn 15. Taiwanese children can now take up part time work. Not your children.

And once they turn twenty they are on their own, legally speaking. As a matter of speaking, if they decide to stay they will have the legal status of tourists and will have to engage in a (for many foreigners) common activity called ‘visa run’ – leave the country regularly and get another few month of legal stay – as tourists, without work permit or other privileges which your children had while they grew up.

There are some rudimentary attempts by the government to address these well know issues but until now they are mere window dressing.

Stay in touch. I will not hesitate to report any improvement of this situation.