Canadians planning to visit Taiwan for 14 days or less do not need a visa to enter the island. A non-extendable single-entry visitor visa can be obtained upon arrival at the airport.
Canadians who wish to stay longer than 14 days must apply for a visitor or resident visa at a representative office outside Taiwan.
To work legally in Taiwan, you must have a resident visa that specifically states you are permitted to accept employment. Obtaining permission to work can be a challenge. You cannot apply for a work permit without assistance from your potential employer.
Many schools cannot legally sponsor foreign teachers for a work permit (often because they do not have a business licence) but will readily allow foreigners to work illegally, even without the appropriate visa.
Often foreigners are recruited from abroad and arrive in Taiwan, only to discover that their prospective employer is not able to arrange a work permit and resident visa, leaving them stranded and out of pocket. Contractual disputes, including claims for losses arising from misrepresentation of the terms and conditions of employment, can be dealt with only through the Bureau of Education of the municipal government where the employer is located (e.g. the cities of Taipei, Taichung or Kaohsiung). The Bureau will seek mediation with the employer. If this approach cannot resolve the matter, the only recourse is the local legal system.
Foreigners who require more information on labour laws or wish to report unfair treatment can call a labour issues hotline. The number in Taipei is (011-886-2) 8770-1861.
Canadians seeking work in Taiwan should check the credibility of a prospective employer with the nearest Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada or the Bureau of Education of the municipal government where the employer is located (see "Sources of Information"). The Bureau of Education will in turn contact the Ministry of Education as required.
Canadians who wish to visit Taiwan for legitimate reasons such as sightseeing, visiting relatives, studying or doing business may be issued a visitor visa. The visitor's passport must remain valid for at least six months from the date of entry. If you don't have at least six months' validity remaining on your Canadian passport, immigration officials at the Taiwan airport where you land will probably refuse you entry and deport you back to the point of origin of your incoming flight.
There are two main types of visitor visa: one month and 60 days. One-month visas cannot be extended. Sixty-day visas are normally extendable for legitimate reasons. A maximum of two extensions of 60 days each can be granted, for a total of six months. Extensions may be obtained from any city or county police headquarters in Taiwan. After you have had the maximum of two extensions, you must apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC). The forms can be obtained from city or county police headquarters.
Canadians who do not possess an airline ticket out of Taiwan when applying for a visitor visa will be granted a non-extendable visitor visa, requiring them to leave Taiwan within two months. In the past, many foreigners worked in schools that could not sponsor them for a work permit, and every two months they left for a neighbouring destination (usually Hong Kong, Singapore or Thailand), where they would apply for a new visitor visa. This practice is illegal.
Holders of visitor visas are not permitted to accept employment without prior approval from the Taiwanese government. Persons whose application for employment is approved must leave Taiwan to acquire a resident visa at a Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office abroad.
Canadians intending to stay more than six months in Taiwan for the purpose of accepting employment, engaging in business ventures, joining family, pursuing studies, undertaking missionary work or engaging in other legitimate activities may apply for a resident visa. The application, together with the proper documents, must be filed at a Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office abroad. Canadian holders of resident visas can make multiple entries into Taiwan. The re-entry permit must be obtained from the foreign affairs department of the municipal police department. For the city of Taipei, the contact number is (011-886-2) 2381-7494.
Alien Resident Certificate
Canadians holding a resident visa must apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) at the
nearest city or county police headquarters within 15 days of arrival in Taiwan or within 15 days of issuance of the resident visa. By law you are required to carry the ARC card with you at all times. ARC holders are no longer required to apply for an exit permit prior to their departure from Taiwan, but they are required to apply for a re-entry permit prior to leaving Taiwan.
Working Legally in Taiwan
In order for you to work legally in Taiwan, your employer must arrange a work permit for you.
This can take months to process. The resident visa is granted on condition that you perform the employment for which it is issued. If you terminate your employment for any reason, your employer is required to report this to the police and all necessary paperwork must be processed before you can work for someone else.
It is illegal to work for an employer other than the one who sponsored you for your work permit.
Regulations governing foreign workers and alien residency change frequently. For confirmation of regulations and information about fees, contact the nearest Taiwanese diplomatic or consular office if you are outside Taiwan, or an immigration office if you are in Taiwan.
It is your responsibility to understand local laws and obey them. Some foreigners have encountered serious legal problems with the Taiwanese immigration authorities because:
- they accepted employment as English teachers while in Taiwan on a visitor visa; or
- they agreed to teach part-time or teach private classes for an employer other than the one who sponsored them.
Under the Taiwanese system, a foreigner can be detained for up to 60 days without being formally charged while the authorities investigate the allegations. Under certain conditions, a Canadian who has been detained can be released on bail to an individual who qualifies as a guarantor. The Canadian will not be allowed to leave Taiwan until the case is resolved through the legal system, a process that can take months.