Understanding the Point System Work Permit Option

As many of you might already know, there are different ways to obtain an ARC to stay and work legally in Taiwan.* In this article we are going to discuss the “Points System for Foreign Graduates in Taiwan.”

It is necessary to specify that this points system only applies to foreigners that have obtained a university or higher education  degree in Taiwan, which is a little different from foreign professionals who have not studied in Taiwan and are required to have a salary of above 47,971 NTD to qualify for a work permit and Alien Resident Certificate (ARC). According to the Ministry of Labor, the following groups are eligible to acquire an ARC via the points system: foreign students who have a bachelor’s degree from Taiwan, overseas Chinese students, or ethnic Chinese students. We can glean the justification for this ARC option from another recent Ministry of the Interior ruling stating “that international students who graduate from Taiwanese universities have gained a certain level of understanding of Taiwanese culture, an adaptation to the environment, and better language abilities.

It is also important to mention that this process can’t be started by the job seeker or future employee, the process needs to be started by the company that is doing the hiring. In most cases, a letter from the company describing why a foreign professional is required for the position will be necessary as part of the application process.

Once the company has contacted the Ministry of Labor and started the work permit process, the prospective employee will be asked to provide the diplomas and certificates (some documents need to be notarized, the employee should work with the employer to understand which) that corroborate a score of 70 points or better from the following table.

A table explaining the details of the minimum 70 point ARC option for university graduates

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As mentioned above, the foreign professional must amass at least 70 points based on the criteria listed on the table to qualify for an ARC.

The salary has to be stated on the employment contract from the Taiwanese employer and previous experience can be accredited with previous employment certificates translated to Chinese. If you do not have a certificate in your native language that can be accredited with your passport (if it lists your native language), an official document stating your national language, or your diploma (translated to Chinese) in your native tongue can be accepted (the last one is how I accredited it).

Once all the documentation has been provided and is pending approval, the Ministry of Labor will send the work permit to the company in 2-4 weeks, after which time the foreign employee is eligible to officially start working.

Once received, the foreign employee must take the employment certificate – the start and finish dates of the agreement must match the ones on the work permit – along with the work permit, passport, current ARC (and photocopies of both), and a rental contract with the new address if the residence has changed (changes of residence must be reported within 15 days from the day it takes place, failure to report can result in a penalty from NT$2,000 – 10,000), to the National Immigration Agency and apply for a new ARC. Once completed, hopefully you will receive a new ARC within 3-4 weeks and you will be allowed to work legally.

If you are a student who wants to know more about the student work permit you can find more information here.

I hope that this article helps to clarify the point system for foreign students and graduates. If you have any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to send me a message.

This article was contributed by Juan Fernando Herrera Ramos. Fernando is a Honduran Lawyer who came to Taiwan in 2015 to pursue an MBA at National Taiwan Normal University. He currently works as a Business Development Manager at Suntec Medical Taiwan. For further inquiries regarding the point system, you can reach Fernando at  Jfer2334@hotmail.com or connect to him on LinkedIn.

*We don’t have an article on this yet, but we’ll try to produce one.


  Comments: 17

  1. This points system is only valid for professions on the “Specialized or technical works” list, right?

    • To our knowledge it applies to all graduates who qualify in any industries, but if you can share info or links that stipulate otherwise, please do share them with us.

  2. So in theory if I get at least 70 points I’d be able to get a work permit to teach English no matter my country isn’t an English spaking country? Thank you.

    • Yes, earning enough points will get you a work permit that allows you to work in any industry. As for teaching English even if you’re not from one of those designated ‘English-speaking countries’, there seem to be many people in your situation who manage to find jobs teaching in Taiwan. For better answers to those questions, we would recommend that you join some of the teaching in Taiwan Facebook groups. You can find similar conversations and ask questiosn there.

  3. Thanks for the article. One question,
    What if i can reach the 70 points, but I’m not graduate from any University? Not in Taiwan and not abroad. Is it still possible to get the ARC?

    • No, that wouldn’t be possible. The point system option is strictly for foreign students who graduate from a Taiwan university.

  4. Hello, this applies if I graduate in Brazil, but got a Master Degree from a Taiwan University?

  5. Hi, how about the Chinese proficiency? I don’t have that and also I didn’t take the course. but, now I join the language center (not a formal one, more like cram school) if I can provide the certificate hours will I get the score? Also, do you know any hotline service that we can use to ask Ministry of Labour about this matter?

    • Your school may be able to tell you if their certifications would be enough to help you to qualify. We don’t know of such a hotline, but it’s recommended that you go to the office and try to speak with an official about it. They can give you the clearest help on these subjects.

  6. Hello, are you sure that language schools are included? First time I called immigration they told me I could teach English at a buxiban with this point-system, but I called today, and they told me that this system doesn’t include language schools and that I would still need to be a native speaker to teach a foreign language.

    • We are not sure that language schools are included, no. Bear in mind that this article is two years old, so regulations may have changed. Any information you get from a government authority will be most accurate. Also, you should always expect that schools are manipulating these rules – which are rarely/selectively enforced by the government. Lots of non-native English speakers are teaching English in Taiwan, for example. I’m guessing if you get into a discussion with a school that is hiring and they are interested in you, they may have some creative ways to manage the necessary paperwork.

      • Thank you, in theory, no school can sponsor a visa or apply for a work permit for a non-native speaker, I’d like to know if a company could use this 70 point-system to hire a foreigner for something non related to what the foreigner studied in Taiwan, for instance, if a german that had done a masters of arts in English could be hired for a company that makes chairs to sell to Germany so they need someone that speaks German even if he hasn’t studied anything about marketing or business. Thank you.

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