ARC and visa problems. Please! Suggestions?

This post may more properly belong under the legals section so I will put it there also in hopes that some knowledgeable people will see it. I’m having a visa problem and thought I would try to get some advice from someone that’s been around awhile. I came here 8 months ago and signed a 12 month contract with HarvardLand Bushiban in Hukou, North Hsinchu County. No guaranteed hours but I started out at 33 per week. After a couple months Michael, the owner, started cutting hours by combining classes and taking over some of the classes himself. I now understand that this is a common tactic but I really wasn’t worried about it as it just freed me up to teach more private hours and do some corporate consulting. As the hours became fewer and fewer (now 8 per week) I had a talk with him and explained that I would prefer that he found someone else and he agreed. We had some heated discusions everytime I would have to have a sub come in to free me up for other more lucrative jobs. He had told me that subs were Ok. No problem. Just cover the class. About 3 months ago he agreed to give me a transfer letter when he found a new teacher and that I should give him at least 2 weeks notice before I left. He has not attempted to find anyone for several months. I have done the notice thing several times with him and he can’t or wont find anyone to take the few remaining hours. I cooperated and stayed on for those classes just to keep the peace and to fulfill what I believe is my moral obligation for completing my side of the contract. A consulting firm offered me a very lucrative job in Taipei and I accepted. They insisted I move to Taipei and I lined up and rented an apartment. I had not moved yet but even when I did I planned on still teaching in Hu-kuo. This is a small town and word got back to Michael that I was moving. When I went in on Thursday Michael told me that he could not give me a transfer letter because the government doesn’t like them. This is false. I checked. It’s done but is complicated and requires coordination by the old employer and the new. Michael also told me that Friday would be my last day and that he was cancelling my ARC. He used the excuse that it was illegal for me to move. One day notice. Well, I saw red and after trying to change his mind, I walked out. I believe I will need to do a visa run. Do I? Now, since I cant go to HK I think BK is the obvious choice but I do not have a clue what to take. I get varying opinions from everyone I ask. Proof of taiwan savings of 70k or 100k - seems to be an even split on opinions. Onward ticket. Some say it is needed in this kind of case others say if your getting a tourist visa they don’t ask. Others say it is needed but a travel agency itinerary will work just as well. Multiple passport photos, necessary fees in the issuing countries currency and multiple copies of everything. What other paperwork? Offer of new job will probably screw up my getting an extendable 60 day visa so I’m not sure about that. A good friend from this site suggests that I get a letter from a U.S. corporation saying that I am working for them and will be in and out of Taiwan for the next several years exploring business ops in Taiwan. This is possible for me to do but will it work for a tourist visa? That seems like a “doing business” kind of thing that would raise eyebrows. I know I have just a few days to leave and then come back but the particulars are giving me fits. How long do I have? I have heard everything from 3 days to 10 days. Time is running and I have heard it’s better to stay out of the FAP office because if my ARC is cancelled and they see that it has been, they will stamp my visa with a "Must Leave the Country By:____ stamp which causes problems upon re-entry. Also I have been told that I simply can’t come back at all until my old ARC expires even though it has been cancelled. Top that off with moving this week-end I really have my hands full. Since many of you have been around awhile I thought you might have some information and suggestions, a roadmap if you will. I could go to FAP but I dont want to limit my options in that manner just yet. Anything - anything you can offer would sure be appreciated. Thanks

  1. When an ARC is cancelled you get a grace period of a couple of days to leave… if of course he has actually cancelled it

Phone the Council of Labor Affairs

  1. With this SARS thing, perhaps you could get an extension… if they are hesitant tell them some story… perhaps this will work

  2. If you are a US citizen if the worse came to the worse you can get a 5 year mulitiple Business Visa… but you would have to get this in the US… and bullshit a little to get it… create a fake company letter sdaying you will be doing business in Asia and travelling to Taiwan

  3. You said that" because if my ARC is cancelled and they see that it has been, they will stamp my visa with a "Must Leave the Country By:____ stamp which causes problems upon re-entry. Also I have been told that I simply can’t come back at all until my old ARC expires even though it has been cancelled. "

this is crap … who told you this … your old employer?
I did this and had no such problem

  1. fro your choice of visa run destinations check the archives there is loads of info on where to go, what to bring, what you’ll get there…
    … but I will say this… BKK can be good and bad to get a visa…

  2. How about if this Michael chap doesn’t give you the release letter you you will tell the local authorites that he has teachers in the school teaching illegally… tel himt hsi if the worse comes to the worse

I hate thinking of these power tripped owners of schools trying to fuck foreigners over like this

If you go to Thailand take a break there for a while to figure out what you should be doing… it is pointless coming back here on a visa if you are unsure of what you can do

  1. Tell him your serious. If he doesn’t have your release letter in 2 days you’ll tell the police about his hiring of illegal teachers. (Might not work, but worth a go).

  2. Book a ticket to HK, go to the FA Police and say, you don’t want to leave yet because of SARS, can they stamp your Visa (that is your Visa, not your ARC) with an expiry of 30-60 days please?

  3. If that works use the extra time to get the application for the new work permit in and you might not even have to leave the country.


I concur with Brian. Go to the FA Police and grass this scumbag up. It is not legal to work for 8 hours a week only, and he is employing foreign teachers illegally and lying to them and you. Get an extension. Make a new ARC application. You should be able to stay in Taiwan.

just left a job, and got a call a few weeks later from the police about my ARC. They were very nice about it and are letting me stay while my new employer takes over my ARC.

I had a similar situation to you about six months ago, when my ex-employer tried to do the dirty. They didn’t even tell me that my ARC had been cancelled, so I overstayed without realizing it. When I eventually turned up, very contrite, at the police station they cleared up the overstay at no charge.

My visa run that time was very straightforward. I arrived in HK with pics, a letter in English explaining (truthfully) what I was doing, a ticket out of TW, and a letter issued by the Do Edu stating that my application for a permit was being processed. The lady at the TECO asked me if 2 months would be enough to get a new ARC, and issued the visa the same day.

Bitching about idiot employers seems fair enough, but all the people I see complaining about the authorities seem to be the ones breaking the rules. I have twice been to see them, and twice come away smiling.

My advice is to be nice and be honest.

As for your release letter - your new employer should ask the old one to send it, and apply a little pressure local-style. If that doesn’t work then try doing what I did when negotiating terms for my departure from my last job:

“Well we seem to be understanding things differently, and this is really becoming a problem. Of course neither of us want to be nasty about this, (optionally insert: and I for one don’t want to see the police being called to investigate a disturbance of the peace here,) so I think we should try and do it the civilised way. We can settle it in court, and you can pay my lawyers fees when I win, or we can avoid that by using the CLAs arbitration service. Which would you prefer?”

The CLA route is the one I pressed for, because it’s free and because YOU can initiate a complaint that will result in the chool being investigated within a couple of weeks. I politely insisted that, since my boss was so sure I was wrong, we should avoid the unpleasantness and expense of involving lawyers and take advantage of the service that has been set up to resolve disputes quickly and easily.

It was amazing how quickly they changed their tune when I stuck to the line it was better to just part as friends, and get a third party (with legally binding authority) to decide who was right.

Hope this helps.

Not much has happened so far. My proposed new employer is communicating with the old school and is hopeful of convincing him that a transfer letter would be a good idea. The secreatary at the new employer called MOE and FAP. FAP didnt have a clue about the status of my ARC (Jubei Office) and MOE said that their staff was out today. I want to thank all of you for your kind suggestions. At the very least it looks like I can get an extension to leave and that may give enough time to process a transfer letter if the new school can get one. They seem to think that if that is the case I may not need to leave at all. I will keep you updated and thanks again.

I went to FAP with secretary from new school. We (read she) spoke to FAP who decided that I had 2 weeks from the date of my last day at work at the old school. He said to come back in a week with the paperwork to get my new ARC started and they could extend due to SARS. Thus I am FAP bound again this week with pics, app, cash, passport, multiple copies of everything, secretary, letter from new school and a grin and bear it smile.

This is probably not correct. Even if you win, you will probably be responsible for your lawyers fees unless your contract says otherwise. Besides, the court will probably refer you to th CLA anyway.

This seems to be a very common occurance here in Taiwan – ex-employers attempting to screw their ex-employees around as a parting gift. Similar things happened to a freind of mine when she decided to leave a school. Her new (and fairly connected employer) tried pulling all the strings he could to get a release letter from the old employer and in the end nothing worked, he just kept saying, “no, she was bad teacher balh blah blah, don’t hire her blah blah.” In the end, they found a way to transfer the ARC without the release letter, but with a lot of work on the new employer’s part. If her new employer wasn’t a good person and willing to put a lot of effort in to get her as a teacher, it might have been impossible for her to be employed legally in Taiwan again. Her ex-boss was a foreigner as well… go figure.

Broke my glasses today so apologies in advance for poor typing. I obtained letters properly stamped from my proposed new employer and went to FAP. They had told me last week that I had one more week to get things strted with the new employer. The secretary went with me again. I am not certain why but the initial encounter at the front counter was initially rtather brusque. I understood some of the converstation and it seemed tht I was being told that my visa expires tomorrow and that I must leave and come back with a new visa. The secretary reminded him in a nice way of his statement from the previous week and it just seemed that we were getting nowhere. As all the papers were being put away I told the secretary in English that I was very concerned about traveling outside Taiwan due to SARS and was certainly hopeful that they could see some way to continue my visa for an additional 30 days. I am not certain if the mention of SARS was the cause of a change of attitude but there was a quiet converstaion between FAP and the secretary. I got the 30 day extension and also, the kicker, they re-instated my ARC retroactively for 30 days. This re-instatement I understand isn’t exactly kosher but I’m not complaining. The 30 days gives my new employer time to get my ARC paperwork in and I no longer have to coddle to the SOB that canceled my old ARC. No transfer letter, no release letter and a new ARC without leaving. I hope. It looks like its heading in that direction. I encourage anyone dealing with FAP to be courteous and compliant. Have multiple copies of everything and a friend that speaks the language that can also be courteous is a real plus. Thaks again to all those who posted. A special thanks to my bluegrass friends who offered great suggestions. See you at Citizen Cains.

Glad to see things worked out so well. Thanks for the report.

If you are going to break your glasses, taiwan is a great place to do it. Cheap glasses and, unlike the US, you do NOT need a doctor’s prescription to buy glasses or contact lenses.

I don’t know why some employers are like this. I also worked for a Harvardland, this one in Beidou, when I first came to Taiwan. Because the TECO office in Atlanta didn’t give me the correct info for getting the spousal ARC, I got the work ARC first (the requirements are less). From the beginning, they paid me less than agreed and lied about my hours. When they wanted to reduce my hours further, I decided to leave. However, by then I had my ARC status changed from “working” to “joining family”. They didn’t know this and tried getting my ARC cancelled. The FAP called my apartment and checked my status. I informed them that my status had already been changed. They checked and verified this and have left me alone since. As I am a forgiving person, I didn’t bother telling them about what they did and about th South African (without a college degree) that they currently hire.