There is absolutely NO possibilty of changing to a work visa. It just does not not work that way. Even if you tell your so called embassy that you are going to Taiwan to look for a teaching job and maybe see some sights, you will be rejected. You come here on a work visa or you find a job while you are here on a landing or visitor’s visa and then leave with your paperwork, usually to HongKong. I know of so many people who have been misled by their prospective schools and ended up spending alot of time and money for no good purpose.
All that being said, it sounds like a good way to go is to line up a job before you come here. They offer things like free airport pickup, inexpensive housing, at least one free meal at lunch and a friendly enviroment.
In English that means that they will spend a few hundred NT $ to get you to their school, where they will usher you to a windowless, non-air-conditioned hovel with enough room for a bed (maybe) and expect you to live there. Many will expect you to pay them a partial payment per month which is usually double the actual cost of the room. The free food turns out to be that you are the food monitor at the school. You control all the little lovely ones, give them their food, wipe their chins and their noses and when everything calms down, you can shovel in a few grains of rice. (cold). (and while you are ducking and dodging the leftovers thrown at you.) (Little bastards)
This is probably the wrong string for this - ya - I know, it sounds like a rant, but not so. Advise!
Don’t get taken for this crap. It seems like I hear every month of one or two folks who have had the problem.
Come here on a landing visa.
Look around and decide what area is for you.
Negotiate rent with a landlord usuaing body language or a friend you have met.
If furnished, fine, If not go find what you need at the many furniture stores.
While you do the furnishing, check out forumosa wanted at the top of this web page. BTW, You might also find a roomy.
When you meet with the landlord, try to have a Chinese speaker with you but it’s not absolutely neccessary. Expect to pay 2X the rent in a deposit. When you leave, all you need to do is put the place back into the same number of rooms that you found it. Damage is frowned upon but, since I am used to the U.S. system they get it back better than I found it.
Next, get your job lined up and get the Work Permit Docs. You need the health check, as mentioned elsewhere, a pocket full of passport photos and a couple thousand NT.
Once you have the Work Permit Docs, take them to Immigration near your home. Present them with pics and your passport. They will call you back in a few days to give you a little plastic card that says your “A cool dude”. Now, go to work. Do it again next year but then you’ll be an an old hand and telling everybody else how to do it.
Enjoy the experience.