JFRV and Work Rights for Foreign Spouses


Under Taiwan law, a "foreign spouse" is someone married to a Taiwan citizen.

A visa based on this marital status is called a Joining Family Resident Visa (JFRV).

Many people posting on forumosa.com have questions about the work rights of foreign spouses after they obtain the JFRV or permanent residency. Do foreign spouses have unrestricted work rights?

[Update on April 23, 2013]
Article 48 of the Employment Services Act (ESA) certainly appears to strongly support such an "unrestricted work rights" interpretation.

I have typed up a simple two-page .doc file about this, which includes the original Chinese ESA legal reference, along with a full explanation in English. I believe that this information would be suitable to show to any Chinese-speaking personnel in any Taiwan company/organization who might have some question about a foreign spouse's work rights.

The file may be dowloaded from this URL -- taiwanbasic.com/forms/fs-work.doc


never saw this post coz I just Forumosa last year...

Now that I am planning to get married next year after I get my ID card, I am interested in knowing more work rights for Foreign Spouses....

Do I just go to the NIA and get all the information..of course this is based on the assumption that they do have all the correct information!!



No need. As a JFRV holder you can work at any job for which you are qualified. Despite the above post from four years ago, its really really simple.


I got my own business so I assume she work for me even though she is not qualified in my line of work...of course thanks to the digital age she can just work from home.....actually more than working the main thing is for her to be able to live legally in Taiwan....

I don't know how simple it will be in my case since she holds a Mainland passport and I heard the rules for Mainlanders ( as compared to spouses of other nationalities ) are somewhat different....also as I said I will be getting my Taiwan ID card next year so again I am not sure of what rules will apply in our / my...

she is working for Denso China right now and they did tell her that if she moves to Taiwan she can get an equivalent position in Denso Taiwan



Oh, wait. You're a foreigner and so's the wife? In that case it means that if you're allowed to stay here legally then she can have a JFRV that allows her to live here with you, but she cannot work.
I was talking about a foreign bloke with a JFRV for a Taiwanese wife. You need to be very very specific with your situation, especially when it comes to Chinese brides. The same rules do not apply.
Best for you to check with the NIA and be VERY clear with them about your EXACT situation -- your original post here, for example, was not clear at all, which is why I gave you wrong information. Sorry about that.


No need to be sorry Sandman...it is my mistake for not giving you a clear picture...sorry for getting you confused...

As of now I am a laowai with Taiwanese nationality but come next year I will get my Taiwan ID card and then become a Taiwanese citizen..so then I will be a "local" and she will be a foreigner - can't call her that because she is a Chinese and so will be more local than me...I just going to be like SatTV and the others - funny laowai with Taiwanese ID!!

Thanks for confirming that I should check with the NIA about this...just hope they give me all the correct info and not castrate me for getting a Mainland bride....don't know why but I never had any "yuan fen" with the Taiwanese girls!!


Ehem, so soon he'll be an ex-foreigner, and his Chinese wife, well, she'll be the "foreigner" so she'll have to get a JFVC :smiley: - but yes, as a Mainlander, it is a bit more complicated... :ponder:


yup funny loooking laowai is local but local looking Chinese is laowai!!

guess i will go to the NIA only after I get the ID!!! don't want them to think I am snakehead or something making wrong use of my citizenship!!

on a more serious note if anyone has any information regarding the rules that apply to spouses from the Mainland then I am all ears!!..now she regrets not taking the HK passport / ID when she had the chance!!


Not much on the details, but recently there has been a lot of relaxation of the rules based on cross-Strait thawed relations. Seriously, it is easier now, and there are several projects in the works to make it even more flexible, so by the time the time comes, I am sure it won't be a hassle.


yes tht's what i keep hearing but as we all know reports in the paper and on tv are never always accurate...they make up a very rosy picture and when u actually try to get things done you end up getting :cactus: really bad!!


This should be a separate topic really, but whats the difference with an HK ID?



Sorry, because I'm asking it again, but on the inthernet and on the forums I find similar, but little bit different answers. I'm a bit confused.
If I get the JFRV, can I work, get (in) any kind of job / be self employed even if I'm not qualified?
Is it a problem, that my qualification is not a university diploma?
So just with the JFRV, without diploma, qualified in a totally different field, without enough experience am I have any right to work or to sell sausage on the street?


Basically, you have unrestricted work rights and can work any job or multiple jobs that a Taiwanese can work to include self-employment as long as you meet the qualifications for the position. The JFRV doesn’t give you the right to work in any position that you don’t hold the qualifications. Example: You can’t work as an English teacher if you don’t meet the Ministry of Education’s basic qualification of possessing a four-year college degree from a recognized (recognized by Taiwan) institution of higher learning. Other exceptions of course include positions that require R.O.C. Nationality like police officer, military officer, or civil service worker. Additionally, the JFRV doesn’t give you permission to evade your tax responsibilities whether you work for another company, multiple companies, or are self-employed. Conduct yourself accordingly.

Last I checked you didn't need a college diploma to sell sausage on the street corner, so you should be good to go. Have fun.


You can even work in a 7-11 if you want. :laughing:


So I can work in 7-11, restaurant, night market, gardener .... "just" the employer need to give me the job. OR can be a self employed, as a photographer (graduated, but not diploma).

Thank you for the quick answers!


So, to confirm, you guys are saying that with a JFRV you no longer need a work permit, right?


That's right. I never knew a a work permit was needed in the past if you had a JFRV visa.


Good to know. I've never had any experience with this. I'm currently on a JFRV and wasn't sure if I needed a work permit or not.

One less thing to worry about. :thumbsup:


The NIA specifically told me when I got my JFRV that I didn't need any kind of work permit.


Now, yes. However, before 2002 JFRV holders still needed a work permit in order to work legally.

Here's how it used to be.

Stop reading now if you get bored easily, dislike history lessons, or hate the ramblings of an old man! :roflmao:

Disclaimer: The events you are about to read are true and happened to me personally and/or was told to me by individuals working in an official capacity for the Taiwan government. There is no second hand information, here. You may or may not have experienced something/anything similar. The most consistent things in Taiwan are the inconsistencies! "Hey, here is Taiwan!"

  1. Prior to 2002, the JFRV only allowed spouses of Taiwanese nationals to reside in Taiwan and had no provisions for employment. If you wanted to work on your JFRV you still needed a company to sponsor you for a work permit. After all, the JFRV was primarily geared for the mass influx of mail order brides that Taiwanese men were buying. They didn't need to work, they just needed to stay home take care of their husbands and make babies. This was actually told to me by an MOI official, whether or not that was in fact true. Sounds good on paper! For myself, I had a JFRV and I also was required to have a work permit sponsored by my company at the time in order to work legally.

  2. In 2002 (sometime in the spring) if I recall correctly, I don't have the date sitting in front of me right now, the MOI decided to create the Open-Work Permit to allow JFRV holders to be able to engage in self-employment, or employment with their Taiwanese spouse's family business and/or without the need to for a company to sponsor a work permit. Again, the primary thought process was geared toward the mail order brides being able to legally work their spouse's noodle stand, etc. I went to apply for the OWP in summer 2002 and was one of the first JFRV spouses to get it. Well, that's what they told me anyway. They didn't have a separate application form for the OWP, nobody new what I was talking about when I went in to apply for it, and I actually had to show them the newspaper article from the China Post and also a Chinese language one telling all about it and how to apply for it. In the end, one of the head honchos from upstairs had to come down and provide some education to the underlings on how to process this OWP thing and he did mine personally as an example for them. When I picked up my OWP it looked exactly like the normal (at the time) work permits, you know, two A4 pieces of paper with a giant red chop and giant blue writing stamped on it. The only difference with mine was that there wasn't an employer listed as my sponsor for the work permit, just my wife's name and id number.

  3. In late 2002, the MOI decided to end the requirement for JFRV spouses to get the OWP. As it was told to me, they suddenly became inundated with a deluge of OWP applications from not just mail order brides, but all JFRV spouses to include white collar workers like me! They couldn't handle all the paperwork and decided it would be easier for them to just to change the policy to say simply that all JFRV spouses would have open working privilages. This change occured in late 2002.

  4. However, when the requirement for JFRV spouses to have an OWP was cancelled, the news was very slow getting to many of the Foreign Affairs Police branches throughout the island. I remember receiving frantic phone calls and emails from people I knew who wanted me to immediately email the relevant newspaper articles regarding the new open work rights for foreign spouses to them. They wanted to be able to show the articles to the local cops who were giving them a hassle for working in the night markets and pubs without work permits. They said that simply telling the cops that because they were JFRV spouses that they no longer needed work permits and could work any job they desired, wasn't working all the time.

  5. In 2006, I changed my JFRV to an APRC. I heard from another Forumosa member that the OWP was no longer two obnoxiously large A4 pieces of paper, but instead was a nice small wallet sized card. So, since my status changed from JFRV to APRC, I figured that I needed to reapply for the OWP. I filled out the same crappy application as I had back in 2002, filed it, got my receipt and waited for my OWP to be processed. I received a phone call the next day from a clerk who said that I already had an OWP on file and couldn't have another one. I told her that my status had changed from JFRV ARC to APRC and therefore needed to get a new one. She asked me if I was still married, I replied yes and she said that because I was still married the old one was still good and in fact didn't even need one anymore. I told her I wanted a new one that was in a card size and not two A4 pieces of paper. She told me that if I was still married that I didn't need one as my wife's name appears on the back of my APRC! I told her, "No, it doesn't! It's an APRC, not and ARC. I want a new OWP in a nice card format!" She finally relented, but said I would be required to turn in the original OWP so it could be cancelled (two A4 sized pieces of paper) before she could process a new one for me. I was tired of her crap so I gave the original OWP to my wife and told her to go see this crazy clerk and take care of it for me. The wife returned the old OWP for me and really bitched at this clerk for being so stupid. The clerk actually asked my wife why I wanted a new OWP card versus my old two A4 pieces of paper to carry around, asked if we were planning on getting divorced in the near future, and reiterated that I didn't need an OWP anymore because spouses of Taiwanese nationals have open work rights and lastly that my wife's name appears on the back of my APRC! My wife pulls out my APRC and nearly poked the clerk in the eye with it as she demanded the clerk to look at my APRC and show her where my wife's name appeared on my card! The clerk shut up, cancelled the old OWP and sent me my nice new wallet sized OWP card. The end. :discodance: