Best places for (non-teaching) expat work outside Taipei

When I lived in Taiwan, I worked as an English teacher and then a technical writer in Taipei County and Taipei City. I’m hoping to move back in a year and I’d really like to make a fresh start somewhere new more peaceful with a lower cost of living. I might even go and study Chinese for a semester to get back to my old level and look for a job while I’m there in the same area.

I’m a career technical writer with an MA in linguistics and, by the time I go back I’ll also have a CertHE in computer science (CertHE is a UK university-level qualification which is worth less than a degree). I’m happy to continue doing technical writing, but I’d also be happy to do anything else that doesn’t require Chinese proficiency, aside from English teaching.

Do big cities like Tainan, Taichung, and Kaohsiung have demand for non-Chinese speaking expats and tech professionals? I believe I’ve heard that Hsinchu and Taoyuan have lots of jobs? Anywhere else I should consider?

Are you going to try for the Gold card? If you can “figure out” a category to apply through, it is definitely worth it - 3 years ARC, all family covered, and an Open work permit. And that is followed by being able to apply (after 3 years) for an APRC.

How long did you live in Taiwan previously? And how long have you been away, and what have you been doing for work? The only reason I ask is for the Gold Card which requires 4+ years of Professional experience.

I am also thinking of moving back (with my family ) in about 5 years. I am interested in hearing about your experience moving back, and your motivation for doing so.

at this moment, it is still 5 years, I think.

Even for the Gold card? Or is that among the proposed changes that are still being considered in the Legislative Yuan?

I think so.

From my experience very few non English teaching office jobs outside of North Taiwan. Even if you did manage to find one pay is likely to be low or very low.

I’m going to have to look into the “gold card”. I’ve seen it mentioned in this forum a few times but never really thought about it because I’m used to the system I went to Taiwan on. I’ve been working in the UK for the past two years as a technical writer which, coupled with my two years in Taiwan means I have the four years experience required. I’d rather move into another field, but I’d be happy to go back to Taiwan as a technical writer for a couple of years before transitioning to something else, as I know there are many technical writing jobs there.

As for my motivation for wanting to move back… Long story short, I had to go back to London for various reasons. Although I missed Taiwan massively, I wanted to see if I could make a “proper life” for myself here, because I felt like in Taiwan there would always be a ceiling and I’d never really be able to go far career and finance-wise.

After two years back, I now feel like I am definitely on track to “making it” here in London, as I have a well-paid job that allows me to live a similar kind of lifestyle to what I had in Taiwan with vastly more money to save, I’m about to buy a two-bedroom apartment outside of London (which I would rent out if I moved back to Taiwan), my career has a proper ladder with opportunities to transition into all sorts of other fields, etc.

But it all just feels so horribly empty, you know? Three of the four years I spent in Taiwan were the happiest years of my adult life (I hated every second of my first year there). During my period in Taiwan, most of my friends in the UK have either gotten married and had children or (in the case of the working class kids I grew up with) gone down a right-wing populist Brexit path, so I find that I’m somehow closer to my friends in Taiwan than my friends here.

Britain generally, but London in particular, has become such a depressing and sorry state of affairs… I kind of feel like I now know that I can make it here if I want to, I’ll have a two-bedroom flat paying for itself and waiting for me when I eventually do come back, so why don’t I just go to the country that makes me happy and give it a real stab? The only thing that holds me back is thinking about the masses of overtime and very little holidays that would wait for me, whereas here I rarely work overtime and have loads of holidays, on top of the considerably better pay and career prospects. I’m using the date when I finish my computer science CertHE to decide whether to stay or leave.

Are you also living in Britain while you think about moving back to Taiwan? Are your family Taiwanese?

Thanks. That’s exactly what I thought.

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Yes, very few. Most would be working as Ex-Pat package type of deal working in Southern Taiwan. the few I know in Kaoshiung work for companies from their home country (Japan, EU, USA ect) so you may look into companies from your home country that want staff in Taiwan. Local companies if they can prefer locals as they can pay much lower.

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You are still young, you can come and go. With the computing cert you are on the right track.

Your story is an interesting one, and not that far off from mine, even though my time away from Taiwan is a fair bit more lengthy, and I have a family to consider as well ( my wife and son, who is 7 years old).

My wife and I lived in Taipei (and area) for about 8 years on and off. We loved it there and called it home; we still keep in touch with our friends there as well. However, after 8 years of English teaching, I needed something that had career potential. That, and throw in a health scare with surgery for my wife, and we moved back to our hometown in Canada.

We are in Winnipeg, Canada. It is bitterly cold in the winter, and has a high crime rate (for Canadian city), and overall is quite boring if you don’t like hockey. Really, I do very little here except work and exercise.

My wife and I moved back here about 9 years ago, and I got very lucky and got a job with the city government after about 4 months. It was entry level, but now, 9 years later, I am in a good job salary wise (making 6 figures CAN per year), but it is very high stress, physically demanding, high overtime, and I have to do rotating shift work, which is brutal.

I have missed Taiwan every single day since we left. If we could move back tomorrow (and I have tried to figure out how to make it happen), we would. We even went back for 10 days in early March this year, and it was great.

My problems are different than yours, for sure - I can’t take an early pension for almost 5 more years (it will be penalized, but around $30000 Can for life); this is often called “golden handcuffs”, you don’t want to leave because of the good pension, etc… We could leave earlier, but wouldn’t be able to access the pension until 60, and it would be around the same amount - which would amount to losing almost $200000 Can in pension alone, not to mention lost income and savings. I know, I know … Do what you love and all that garbage, blah, blah, blah - but I am an adult, with a family to think of, and I have responsibilities to them as well as I don’t want to make the last nine years a waste. Five years isn’t really that much longer in the grand scheme of things, so we will wait.

As for your situation, get the computer education complete, and see what opens up - hopefully in Taiwan.

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I got mine at 6. Easily , there are loopholes in the whole process even if you had a criminal record at home there is a loophole in that too…However never get caught committing a serious crime in Taiwan or no APRC with deportion, far worse than jail itself

You said Technical Write, surely you could find a work from home for an overseas company, US/CA/AUS/NZ. There are more and more jobs working from home for tech companies, you will end up making way, WAY, above any teacher here even for the average salary or low salary, after you transfer/exchange it.

And if it’s pay you are worried about,the english teachers on here as far as I have seen make double digit thousands per month, a tech job makes double or more, easily on the lower end. You also dont have to worry about the politics of the school and all that, all the issues the teachers seem to have.

TLDR; easy to get a teaching job, better to get a job working for an overseas company as tech.

Interesting story! I have also missed Taiwan every single day since I’ve been away. I assumed that it would eventually pass and I could focus on making a proper life for myself in London, but it seems like I’m just missing Taiwan more than ever. It doesn’t matter how good your career and prospects are if your heart just isn’t in the area you’re living and working in. And London makes it very difficult for me to put my heart in it.

Your situation is a bit more difficult than mine, as you have a child to consider and “only” five more years to go until you can cash out. I don’t doubt that I’d wait it out if I were in your position.

Unfortunately, to be a remote technical writer, you really need to be in a close time zone. I don’t think it’s something I could easily do seven or eight hours separated from the UK office due to the nature of the job which involves so much immediate correspondence, although technical writing is otherwise a good career to do remotely.

I’m living here at moment with my girlfriend who I have visited many times over past 3 years.
From UK paid my motgage and renting my house that gives me a income enough to live on but reallyjust enough.
UK Citizen I’ve come over or 90 days no Visa, BUT now I’ve decided I really want to stay. Not sure as yet how to go about this? I will need to work but have no real skills as I run my own cleaning business in UK for 35 years, a injury made me stop and sell business on. Initially trained as motor engineer but 35 years ago cars have changed a bit since then!
My way of thinking is? get a good idea and start a business here? or I do fancy being involved in Tourism, improving my Chinese would help, self learning at moment.
What does any body think of my chances.
The UK not best place to live at the moment.

not pushing this on you whatsoever, but once married to Taiwanese spouse, you get “open work rights” on ARC. opens up your world in a big way: NHI coverage, any job you want without need for work permit, etc.

Thank you for info, does push me a bit :thinking: I’m quite sure it’s going to happen one day, part reason I want to stay.
Not going to happen in 90 days, well 45 days from now.
I have positive thoughts on extending my stay for further 90 days then maybe signing up for Chinese class as mature student.

It makes one aspect of living in Taiwan more convenient. It’s very easy for most companies to issue an ARC so I wouldn’t go as far as saying it opens up your world in a big way

Do you have a degree? If so, the easiest thing to do would be to get an internationally-recognised English teaching qualification (TEFL or CELTA) and teach English to tide you over while learning whatever skills you think are most necessary for the kind of work you’re looking to get in to. The Chinese language is, obviously, useful to learn if you’re living in Taiwan but, realistically, it’s going to take you a long time to get to a level of proficiency where it would help you to get a job.

I’m assuming that, because you’re posting on a thread about non-teaching jobs that English teaching isn’t what you want to do. But it’s the easiest work for a Westerner in Taiwan with a degree to land, the hours are flexible, and the pay is pretty good compared to the cost of living, so you could easily do what you need to do on the side.

I’m afraid to say no Degree, I’ve met so many English teachers on my travels over the years it’s become one of those, why didn’t I?
Been doing some paintin and general DIY for my girlfriends apartment and shop while here, looking at standard of Taiwanese work I think I could do quite well in that trade. However I’m only looking for flexible hours.
Some of tradesmens work I see here is deplorable, they love Plastic with sticky backing and silicone, as for painting it’s everywhere! even nice restaurants and hotels no refined paintwork just thrown on.
I’m enjoying my un-planned early retirment until I apply for extended 3 month visa then look in earnest.

Your best bet, then, would be to get married (if that’s an option) and work for yourself. You’re not going to be sponsored for an ARC in your current line of work. The minimum salary you’d require for an ARC is NT$48,000 a month. Sadly, Taiwan is a particularly judgemental country when it comes to degrees. It’s not like in the West where employers are increasingly valuing people who teach themselves the skills they need and take online courses.

The bright side is that Taiwan is well-known to be an easy country for foreigners to start up their own businesses and to work for themselves. You wouldn’t even need a high level of Chinese proficiency to do the kind of work you’re looking at. I think it’s completely doable, but you just need permission to do it legally.

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