Immigration Categories

The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the work permit. For details on non-typical categories (investors, special programs), please contact your representative.

Typical Process Overview

The following process overview is applicable to the work permit category. From an immigration prospective, a valid Taiwan Work Permit (WP) is applicable for foreign employees who will perform work-related activities in Taiwan, regardless of the assignment duration. Approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee is legal to work in Taiwan is six (6) to eight (8) weeks. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. In Taiwan, the document gathering stage of the process is particularly labor intensive, as many documents must be legalized and translated. We can assist with this if required. See “Application Materials” section below for further details. Processing time for each individual step is noted below.

Step One: Work Permit Application
Processing Time: Two (2) weeks

We can submit the work permit application to the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) in Taipei.

Step Two: Resident Visa
Processing Time: Two (2) to three (3) business days

Once the work permit has been approved, the original is sent to the employee, who must then apply for a resident visa at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in his/her area of residence or nationality. In some instances, it is possible to instead obtain this after arrival in Taiwan. Your consultant can advise the best strategy in the individual circumstances of each case. TECO is the term used instead of Embassy or Consulate, as Taiwan is generally not officially recognized as a state, so does not have diplomatic relations or Embassies.

Step Three: ROC (Taiwan) Resident Certificate Application
Processing Time: Ten (10) working days

Within fifteen (15) days of arriving in Taiwan with the Resident Visa, we can submit an application for a Republic of China (ROC) (Taiwan) Resident Certificate to the National Immigration Agency (NIA). Once approved, the authorities issue the certificate in the form of a plastic card, also known as an “Integrated Circuit Alien Resident Certificate (IC ARC)”. This card is multiple entry and serves as evidence of the holder’s legal status in Taiwan, within its validity.

Typical Documents Obtained

Following the Employment Pass category described above will result in the obtention of the following immigration documents. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal.”

  • Work Permit: One (1) to three (3) years, depending on length of assignment contract
  • ROC (Taiwan) Resident Certificate, a.k.a. Integrated Circuit Alien Resident Certificate (IC ARC): Validity is one (1) to three (3) years according to Work Permit approval period

Reminder: any change in residential address during the applicant’s assignment in Taiwan requires notification to be made to the relevant authority in Taiwan within fifteen (15) days. We are in position to assist.

Renewal

Renewal is possible. Work Permit and ARC Renewal process can take approximately two (2) weeks, respectively; please allow one (1) to two (2) weeks of lead time for document gathering.

Reminder: any change in residential address during the applicant’s assignment in Taiwan requires notification to be made to the relevant authority in Taiwan within fifteen (15) days. We are in position to assist.

Deregistration

To ensure that assignees leave Taiwan after the expiration of their permission to stay and to keep tabs on the number of foreign workers in the country, the government of Taiwan requires all foreigners, including principals and dependents, to surrender their Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and cancel their multiple-entry visas at the police station. This process takes one (1) to three (3) days. Principal applicants must also cancel their Work Permit at the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) in Taipei, a two (2) week process. All foreigners may seek a temporary ARC card for personal reasons for at least a further ninety (90) days after the expiry of the initial ARC.

Dependents

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in Taiwan under the Work Permit category, the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouses): NA
  • Maximum age (children): Twenty (20) years
  • Unmarried partners: No
  • Same sex partners: No
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): No
  • Work authorization granted? No

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. We will advise you in detail for your specific case; however, general application materials for the Work Permit category are noted below.

  • A variety of personal and corporate documents will be needed to support the application.
  • Such documents include: current resume (C.V.), birth and marriage certificates, corporate tax documents, and corporate registration certificates.
  • Certificates not in English must be translated and certified by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the country of origin.
  • Note that the above mentioned documents are examples of what will be required and that additional documentation will certainly be necessary. We can prepare all necessary forms and advise you of the exact documents required based upon the specifics of your case.

Business Visitors

  • Name of visa granted: Visitor Visa (Business Status)
  • Duration of stay: Varies; from thirty (30) to ninety (90) days depending on nationality
  • General activities permitted: Orientation, home-finding, and other preparations for employment can be conducted under business visitor status.

Change of Status

It is possible for some nationalities to convert from visitor to employment status without leaving Taiwan.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. In Taiwan, there are minimum salary requirements in place. Additionally, payroll location will not affect the immigration process. Please contact your representative for more details for your specific situation.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. The lower the educational qualification, the more relevant work experience will be required. No prior work experience is required for post-graduates or PhD holders. Graduates must have at least two (2) years of relevant work experience. Diploma holders must have at least five (5) years of relevant work experience. Those applicants with just a high school diploma must have at least eight (8) to ten (10) years of relevant work experience. Please contact your representative for more details.

Red Flags

In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.

  • Qualification of the sponsoring business entity in Taiwan
  • Absence of degree.
  • Insufficient compensation.
  • Entry of employees from mainland China is a significantly more complex process. Holders of passports issued by the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macau are subject to special application procedures and they may not enter Taiwan while their applications to work are in process.
  • Unmarried partners cannot receive dependent approval.
  • It should be noted that requirements of various TECO offices can vary and change without notice. On occasions it is only after filing applications that additional items are requested.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The Taiwan government takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Taiwan’s Employment Services Act makes clear that foreigners are not allowed to work in Taiwan until permission has been granted. Penalties for non-compliance may include:

Employees:

For foreigners working in Taiwan without permission granted, fines between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000 may be imposed and foreigners risk being expelled from Taiwan immediately with all work terminated.

Employers:

Employers can be fined for violations an amount of at least NT$150,000 and at most NT$750,000.There are also provisions for people with recurrent violations within five years to be imprisoned for a term of at most three years, or detained for hard labor and/or penalized an amount of at most NT$1,200,000.

For more details, please contact your representative.

Bilateral Agreements

Taiwan has Working Holiday agreements with several countries, allowing Taiwanese to also work while on holiday in those locations. The amount of time the holder of such a visa may work in Taiwan varies slightly by nationality. This is for people under thirty (30) only.