Attracting foreign workers


No, it’s not. Engineers normally get 50-60k in the continent. Ireland is the outlier here. The tax haven policy attracted all the US tech companies to set up their European headquarters there, and that helps boosting the pay to US levels.

And the UK’s salary is not that good in the first place. Senior engineers earn 50-70k GBP per annum in London, which isn’t that bad, but it’s also not great considering how high CoL is.

Other than Switzerland, it is also uncommon to find people earning >100k EUR in Europe. Only very senior managers would earn that. It’s no America.

Sorry, I meant per month.


I thought salary was very high in the UK but after coming I realised that it’s not really the case. In my field (lawyers), the leading firms in London offer 50k GBP on the first year, that’s around 37k after tax. The top firms in Taiwan like Jone’s Day or Baker & Mackenzie or Lee & Li offer 1.2 - 1.5 million in the first year (which is roughly the same as 37k GBP, slightly lower maybe) and the rent is like 1/5 (and I’m being generous). The purchasing power is so weak here. The cost of living is unbelievably skewed to the bankers. No wonder people are using sex to pay rent in this country. It’s appalling.

Besides, you’d have to do a 2-year training contract if you come from a civil law jurisdiction and want to work in the UK, and during those two years they pay you 10k each year, aka you’d literally end up on the street. Also, the working hours are equally bad in London for lawyers. Everyone gets off work past midnight at big law firms.

Getting rid of 'begpackers'

Assuming 22 working days in a month, 209 hours a month is about 9.5 hours per day with weekends free. That is not too bad.


Solicitors and barristers in the UK and Ireland have to undergo a period of apprenticeship where they get paid peanuts. It’s kind of way to keep the riff raff out. If you can survive the period of working practically for free you can do well later.


I wouldn’t focus on engineers so much. There are obviously very well paid engineers all over Europe in automotive , electrical, aircraft, power, precision machinery, you name it. I know many myself in the UK.
But the big cities in Western Europe also have a good diversity of well paid service and regional and govt jobs too that you would see very few of in Taiwan - IT, finance, legal, pharma, working for EU govt agencies.

Agreed that the US tends to pay a lot higher for some jobs.


The cost of living and tax take in Taiwan is really low.
Thats a great plus about living here. Take home pay for me compared to homeland compares extremely well.

But there are some major caveats. Property prices are far too high , air pollution is bad and the political situation is a constant drag on the economy and threat to the country. Due to it being a small island with low investment if you have a well paid job and lose it you could struggle to find another one…Except for those in demand engineers we are talking about. Many people find it surprising I do a regional job from Taiwan … …That’s not good.


Also the working culture here is nearly universally toxic. There is little opportunity for foreign workers to get to the top of the pile. The Thai engineer will likely not be happy here.


Well my point is even after that apprenticeship, it’s more or less the same level of pay as well, which struck me as a surprise as I thought it would’ve been a lot higher. As I said, first year package at leading law firms in London is 50k (gross) across the board, which is pretty much the same as the package in the largest law firms in Taiwan (and much less competition, btw, since you get a shit ton of foreigners fighting for the few openings in the UK, whereas in Taiwan you could get in with far less credentials). Junior associates (like working after 3 years) at the biggest law firms would make 70-90k GBP, and in Taiwan it’s also like 2.5-3 million. The difference is not dramatic (or even no difference at all) but the cost of living is not even remotely close.

As far as career goes there’s probably more of an excitement (like working culture and the profile of cases would obviously be far higher) and the ceiling is also higher here. but senior partners in large Taiwanese law firms also make tens of millions and even hundreds for the heads of the firms.

That apprenticeship of 10k already scares foreign students off except those from really poor countries or countries in deep economic shit. At the career fair you basically only see people from East/Southern Europe or India asking for information.


Yep, how many opps are there for foreigners here to work in well paid senior management jobs, govt agencies or climb the corporate ladder. Very few in reality.


There is a fair amount of non locals in the startup scene and larger tech companies. Pay is not too bad either, and hours 9-6 or so

Not sure of the holidays, but my impression is they do 2-3 over seas trips a year or some go home for a month in the summer


How many of those well paid lawyers in Taiwan are foreigners though? Yes if you get really good at Chinese after ten years and are American or whatever you could do very well. But the barriers to entry are really high for foreigners. Institutionally it’s just an inward looking place, same as most countries I guess.


What pay is not too bad? A month off in the Summer? That would be exceedingly generous…more like English teachers deal :).


That’s the way the legal profession works. They don’t want ‘poor’ people or unconnected people. You have to go through the King’s Inn , get formally appointed as an apprentice. It’s medieval, all about protecting their own pay and conditions. I worked for a solicitors firm for a Summer, if you aren’t family, already well off or pulling in big business it can be a tough road to travel.


So, I don’t know how much my friends who work in tech make who are non-local. But I would assume it’s 200k+/month

I know my wife’s male friends(local) who work in tech, marketing, web development and such make 200k+ as well, so I would be surprised if the foreigners I know make less. Also, many of them got 2+ kids and mortgages…


200k+ would be a very good salary in Taiwan. Would be surprised if the majority are on that but certainly some of them could be on that. From interviews I did before Taiwanese companies have only ever stretched to 100k + per month, grudgingly. 200k+ for web development and marketing, would be really surprised unless it’s the top manager.

I do pretty well with my current position but I had to get hired from outside of Taiwan and is nobody else doing a similar regional job in Taiwan.

Having kids and a mortgage doesn’t mean you get paid more :).


No, but being able to afford mortgage in Taipei and 2 kids means and a month in Europe in summer means you make a bit


Depends on their family support, I get paid pretty well and I cannot afford to buy a house in Taipei City! The only folks, local and foreign, I’ve seen buy houses in Taipei is because their parents helped them. You are talking about 15 million, 20 million NTD.

New Taipei City, 10 million NTD, I can afford it, and so can regular folks here, although it’s a big stretch for many and they often also have family support.


Yes, obviously it all depends on a number of factors.

And I am fully aware that making 200k in TW is a very good income. But, there are still quite many doing that, even in young age( me and my wife 32, as are her and my friends).

Companies such as TSMC and Gogoro won’t be paying peanuts because they don’t want monkeys.


Getting back to my point.

Do you think this amendment to attract foreign workers, is failing to address why Taiwan has a problem in retaining its best and brightest?

This is a difficult question I know, but one I would argue requires debate.


I don’t know how siginificant this particular law is but there has been many other improvements in the past year (uniform ID no and easier permanent residency for top professionals off the top of my head). I think they are on the right track albeit much slower than I would like.
Taiwanese population will drop significantly in the near future they need foreigners whether they like it or not. It seems they learned from Japans mistakes.