Are Unpaid Internships Legal, Or...?

Hi all! Nice to meet you! :slight_smile:

My company’s telling me that I don’t need a work permit. I would work for them part-time and unpaid as an intern (non-specialized work) with a tourist visa. I recently graduated with my bachelor’s; so, I’m not a student, I have less than two years of professional experience, and I don’t have my Master’s. There is no contract in sight. Is this legal?

Follow-up question: Is there a way to work for them legally?

Thanks so much for the help!

It’s illegal. There have been a few cases of people doing ‘work’ (eg., busking or volunteering) and getting deported.


Thanks for the quick response! Yeah, I read on the gov’t sites that penalties would include a fine, deportation, and three-year ban. I guess I won’t be doing any kind of “volunteering” here, haha.

In order to do internship in Taiwan companies using Youth Mobility Visa (basically a standard visa that said you don’t need work permit)

You must be registered as a student in a university.

Nationals of Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, (South) Korea, New Zealand, Poland, and Slovakia are given a multiple-entry visitor visa valid for one year.

Nationals of the UK are given a single-entry resident visa valid for three months.

Nationals of Austria are given a multiple-entry visitor visa valid for six months.

The company could pay you (not always do, it’s not their obligation to do so).

Other stuff


Thank you for your response and the links! From what you said, I can’t do the Youth Mobility Visa because I’m not a university student, and as my country isn’t one of those listed for the Working Holiday visa, I’m also out of luck there.

I guess I’ll just be vacationing in Taiwan for a while :slight_smile: Thanks again!

You don’t need to be a student to get a youth mobility (aka working holiday) visa, though you would need to wait for your country to be added to the list. But supposing you had a WHV, your status as a student would (apparently) just be an extra detail employers could use to avoid minimum wage etc. (I’m not convinced that this practice is legal.)

More info about WHV’s here:

There is also such a thing as an internship visa, as explained in this thread:

Also, some kinds of volunteer work are now permitted, but apparently not for tourists:

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Thanks so much, yyy! That’s a ton of info. I think I’m a bit SOL on the “work in Taiwan” front, unfortunately. :sweat_smile: Thanks again!

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