This year, even with the negative impact of the pandemic, Taiwan’s economy is still growing at a moderate pace. In addition, the Taiwanese government has controlled the borders so well that the pandemic isn’t greatly influencing daily life. As a result, Taiwan’s job market is still very attractive to many foreign professionals. If you are living in another country and want to find a job in Taiwan, this article about how to apply for a Taiwan work permit is the actionable info you’ve been looking for.
The immigration formalities for foreign professionals who plan to work in Taiwan start with the work permit application. Unlike Singaporean work visas or visas from most western countries, Taiwan’s work permit is not equivalent to an entry visa. The work permit only determines one’s eligibility to work in Taiwan (for the employer that hires you). The work permit alone does not determine a foreigner’s eligibility to stay in Taiwan. The Workforce Development Agency of Taiwan (WDA) is the authority that reviews your work permit application and issues the work permit.
How do you apply for a work permit?
In most cases, if you are hired by a Taiwanese employer, the HR team will handle the work permit application process. But sometimes the employer may ask you to apply for the work permit by yourself. In this case, you should request a copy of the employment contract from your employer or the HR team for your work permit application. With the original signed employment contract and other required documents – which vary by industry, job type, etc. – you can file and submit the work permit application by yourself at the WDA office.
Note that it takes 12 working days for the authorities to review a paper application and issue a work permit. The original work permit can be either picked up personally at the WDA office or mailed to a designated address in Taiwan. If you are overseas, either the HR time hiring you, or an agent they hire out, can mail the original work permits to your location overseas.
So, once you obtain the original work permit, you should apply for a visitor visa or a resident visa online and submit the visa application in person at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in or near your city.
If your work permit is good for more than 180 calendar days, TECO will grant you a resident visa for employment purposes. When you enter Taiwan on a resident visa, you are required to apply for the Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), which is equivalent to a resident permit, at the National Immigration Agency in Taiwan. On the other hand, if the length of your work permit is less than 180 calendar days, TECO will grant you a visitor visa good for 60 or 90 days. With this type of visa, you can enter Taiwan and apply for a visa extension at the National Immigration Agency. Note that there are three points that must be addressed on if you are granted a visitor visa:
- The visitor visa should not be marked: NO EXTENSION
- Length of stay: if it is a 60-day visa, the visa can only be extended to another 60 days.
- The maximum allowed stay with a visitor visa is 180 calendar days: note that once your stay is already 180 calendar days, you will not be able to extend the visa. In this case, there are 2 options:
A. You leave Taiwan prior to the visa expiry day and apply for a new visa
B. If you’ve obtained a valid Taiwan work permit during your stay in Taiwan, you can convert the visitor visa to an ARC at the National Immigration Agency.
What kinds of work permits are there?
Based on the regulations on the permission and administration of the employment of foreign workers, there are 7 categories of work permit:
A. Specialized or Technical Work*
B. The Director or Manager of an Approved Business Invested in or Established by Overseas Chinese or Foreigner(s)
C. School Teacher**
D. Full-Time Foreign Teacher in Cram School
E. Athletic Coach or Athlete
G. Contracted Foreign Professional***
Most foreign professionals apply for the work permit under the specialized and technical work permit category (type A). Depending on the nature of their work or industry, the required documents will vary. However, an approved university or other educational degree is the critical qualification or required document under the type A work permit application.
Per the regulations, the qualifications for different degrees are as follows:
- Doctoral degree /Master degree – no relevant work experience required
- Bachelor’s degree – at least two years of relevant work experience after graduation
- If you do not have a bachelor’s degree or above – you should have at least five years of relevant work experience after graduation
You should be aware of the issuing country of your education and work experience certificates. In particular, if the education certificate and employment history letter were issued in the following countries, they must be notarized by a notary public and authenticated by the overseas ROC Taiwan consulate or representative agency: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cuba, China, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia.
Once you decide to apply for a Taiwan work permit, it is advised that you have your educational certificate and work experience letter ready.
- Workforce Development Agency, Ministry of Labor
- Bureau of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
* This type is mostly applied for by white-collar professionals. There is a specific application form available online for work permit applications. The required documents are listed on the specific webpage on the WDA website. Below are the different subcategories of Specialized or Technical Work professionals:
- Civil engineering or practice of architecture
- Communications and transportation
- Tax and financial services
- The practice of real estate agency
- Immigration services
- The practice of attorneys, or of patent attorneys
- Practice of technicians
- Health care
- Environmental protection
- Culture, sports, and recreation services
- Academic research
- Practice of veterinarians
- Other work designated as per the joint consultation of the central governing authority and the central competent authorities
- Spouses of foreign professionals taking partly-hours specialized or technical works
** This type of work permit application is handled by the Taiwan Ministry of Education.
*** This type of work permit is based on the legal contract between a Taiwanese corporate entity and an overseas foreign corporate entity.