Sacred Heart Elementary School in Keelung (Jilong) City and its recruiter Paul O'Sullivan of Go2TeachEnglish.com promises that if you buy an airline ticket and come to their school you will receive a working permit and an ARC within 60 days. They require that you arrive on a 60 day visitor visa. After your visa runs out they will not have a working permit or an ARC for you. Then you will be required to go on visa runs every time your visitor visa is about to expire. In February of 2009, Sacred Heart School fired all of its teachers who did not have ARCs. This was not the fault of the teachers, rather the fault of the school and the recruiter. Sacred Heart is authorized by the Taiwanese government to hire only eight foreign teachers, and yet they insist on hiring double that number. When the teachers wise up and leave, they are replaced with fresh meat supplied by the recruiter, Go2TeachEnglish.
Currently Sacred Heart is being sued by three teachers who were fired, not because they deserved to be fired, but because the school wanted to make those teachers disappear before an immigration sweep. The school is being investigated by the Taiwanese Justice Department.
I worked there in November and December of 2008 and quit after realizing that they had made promises they could not and would not keep. The turnover was very high because if you teach illegally and get caught you face deportation for five years.
The school would like to pretend that they never had Deon, Elle, Jacquie, Mark, Max, Willem, and many other American, South African, and Canadian teachers on the payroll illegally, but the fact is, we were there, we were paid in cash, the government never got payroll taxes from us, and we were swept out like trash. Don't be deceived by their promises, which include higher than average salaries (75,000 typically), a 1,200 NT dorm room, 500 NT cleaning service, and 400NT a month internet.
You will never get your papers and work legally, and sooner or later you will see the light and quit, or they will show you the door.
CCTV, Channel 4, April 3. 7p.m. Taiwan News. Sacred Heart School in Keelung (Jilong) City was raided by immigration officials and found to be in violation of their permit to hire 7 English teachers. The school had illegally hired another 11 teachers. The dormitory was full of newly hired teachers, many of whom had been hired to replace illegally fired teachers who were swept out of the school like trash because their visas had been used up. Four of these wronged teachers are suing the school for breach of contract. The teachers caught up in the sweep are in legal limbo, facing large fines and deportation. The real criminals in this case are Sacred Heart School, its principal, the archdiocese of the Catholic Church in Keelung (Jilong) City, and Go2TeachEnglish and its agent, Paul O'Sullivan. These are the people in Taiwan who lured teachers out of the United States and other countries with the promise of a job, working papers and an ARC. The principal of the school, the supervisor of the foreign teachers, Moon Lin, and the recruiters all knew that they were acting in violation of the law and yet continued to hire and fire teachers illegally. It even turns out that Go2TeachEnglish.com is not registered to operate as a recruiting agency in Taiwan and has been operating illegally for a number of years. They will face their own legal consequences.
The teachers who were victimized by this culture of dishonesty are not the bad guys in this case. They deserve to have their fines paid by the school, and if Taiwan was a just and kind host country, which it appears it is not, the government here would find new jobs for these teachers who were duped by the school and the recruiters. Hopefully the four teachers who are suing the school for breach of contract win their case, and this becomes a springboard for real change in the hiring and recruiting practices of English teachers in Taiwan. If Taiwan truly hopes to improve the state of English education in its schools, it must begin by treating its guest teachers with respect. That would begin with an accurate description of the job, a working permit before arrival, and an ARC. Being required to do visa runs to stay on the right side of the law is an insult to degreed professionals.
The principal of Sacred Heart stated in faculty meetings more than once that he knew his teachers were working illegally, but he was working on it. In fact, there was no attempt to legalize the teachers, and pay was given in cash, in the hope that the lack of a paper trail would fool the tax authority. He also stated that he had no idea that there was a limit on the number of teachers he was allowed to hire. If that is the case, he is obviously incompetent and should tender his resignation. But this is not the case. The man is a liar and should be fired, fined, and jailed.
It's hard to imagine that Sacred Heart would attempt to fill the dorm with new teachers yet again after the glare of negative publicity this week, but don't count on it. Once again, beware their offers of employment. They are a criminal enterprise.