Bringing Indonesian girlfriend to Taiwan

I’d been planning to move to Taiwan for 1-2 years and teach English. I’d like to also bring my girlfriend, who is an Indonesian national.

Firstly, I’m wondering what the visa situation would be like for her. I’d be planning to acquire a working visa, but what would be the options for her? Also, would she be able to find work? She has a strong command of the English language and is very articulate. She also has degree in Finance from a New Zealand University and 4 years experience as a Financial Control for a shipping company in the Asia/Pacific Region. If something in this line of work were not possible, what are her chances of picking up some private english tutoring work?

If work isn’t an option for her, would I be able to earn enough to support both of us and still save some money?

Thanks for any input.

You may be in for a rough shock. Indonesia is not on the list of English-speaking countries whose citizens are allowed to teach English. So your girlfriend cannot work legally as an English teacher here. And as for private tutoring, she’ll be going up a big wall of prejudice - in Taiwanese society dark-skinned Indonesians and Filipinos are slotted into the “housemaid/factory worker” category and those are the only jobs 99% of the foreign workers in Taiwan from those countries can obtain. Having a good command of English - well, there are thousands of Filipina nannies working in Taiwan that speak excellent English, many of them with advanced university degrees. There is the possibility that she work as a secretary answering the phone in a Taipei company that deals with foreign clients. Or if the Taipei company isn’t too bigoted she might land a job working in finance and international trade - I don’t know too much about that type of work, but given the widespread prejudice in Taiwan against hiring Indonesians/Filipinas for any job higher status than a maid…

Sorry to disappoint you, mate. But institutionalized racism of this sort is just a fact of life in Taiwan. However, as an English teacher, you’ll be making enough on your own - once you get settled in - to support the both of you.

The potential employer would have to prove to the authorities that no local person could be found to do the job. That might be very difficult. Two possible solutions:

  1. If you earn enough, you can pay her fees to study Chinese. As long as she attends classes regularly, she can keep renewing her visa as a student, or even get a resident visa (depending on which school.) Knowing Chinese is becoming a bigger and bigger advantage in Asia, so why not?

  2. Getting married might help…if you’re both willing!

Her visa status will be entirely separate from yours. I think if you made some small economies you could well afford to send her to Chinese lessons indefinitely on one English teacher’s salary. It is extremely unlikely that she will be able to get a job.

Hey guys. Thanks for laying down some options. I apreciate your input. From what you’ve said, it looks as though her only real option is to enrol in Chinese classes. It’s dissapointing it seems there aren’t any decent work options pending her nationality, rather than lack of ability. But not to worry. Thanks again.

What is her ethnicity? If she is ethnic Chinese, she will be better off. In fact, she can probably network with Indonesian Chinese living in Taiwan.

It won’t make much difference to her job prospects.

It won’t be easy for her, but saith the Chinese Business Rules :

  1. Everything is possible
  2. Nothing is easy

  1. When you are discouraged, think about rule #1
  2. When you are optimistic, think about rule #2

Her visa status will be different from yours, true. It would be easier with marriage. Try to bring her here – I would never say she’d be hopeless career-wise here. If she networks and plays her cards right, who knows what could happen.