Coming in on a Visitor Visa but changing to an ARC issue

Without giving too many specifics, I left Taiwan to go back home in June, but my ARC was good until the beginning of August. I’m sure the school cancelled it when I left but even if they did not, it is still expired now.

Last year when I went to Taiwan, I got a visitor visa which had ‘P’ stamped in the remarks which allowed me to change it over later when a company offered me a job. The immigration office had no issue changing the purpose of my visa. I applied for a new visitor visa again recently, and the girl behind the counter said they were told from Taipei now to stamp in the remarks ‘not for conversion to a work permit’ . I asked her how it was possible to look for a job then if I am not in the country to check, and she said that “I needed to make some decisions as that is what Taipei told them” I asked to speak to the consulate in charge and they decided to make an exception, however if this is indeed the new regulation, then it will be very difficult for people to just go and look for a job on the ground. They would have to either take a job offer online with a crappy school, or come under the visa exempt program and get the job, then do a visa run to get the paperwork done, adding extra expense for no good reason.

I have heard that some people were able to convert the visa free entry into a residence visa with arc, and even the website says you can, but the TECO says they are sure that this is not possible. If this is a government directive, it seems that they are trying to make it more difficult for people to come to Taiwan.

TECO is useless usually.

But which TECO was this?

Despite this remark on your visa, you can still look for a job and receive an ARC. The inly limitation is that your visa has an endorsement against direct conversion. What you need to do is go to BOCA and apply for a resident visa once you have a job offer and took the health exam. They will issue a whole new visa and then you are a good to go.

Alternatively, for teaching English you may enter visa-free. I assume you are from a visa-free country (i.e. not South Africa) and receive 90 days upon entry. Direct conversion from visa-free to ARC is possible for white collar professionals.

As to why TECO does this: money! Selling two visas rather than one makes a lot more money. especially considering that resident visa issued inside Taiwan come at higher prices. With many countries not requiring a visa anymore and the NIA letting you transfer from visa-free to ARC, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must have noticed a massive drop in revenue.

My understanding is that you don’t directly convert to a resident visa based on my two experiences. First you buy some sort of visitor visa from within Taiwan and then you buy a resident visa. So it’s like Hsinhai describes it. You buy 2 visas so your first visitor visa (not directly convertible to a work related visa) isn’t directly converted to a work related visa. Actually you buy 3 if you buy a visitor visa in your home country instead of using visa exempt.

Thanks for the responses everyone.
The TECO here was sure that the visa free entry cannot be converted to an arc but the website of MOFA says otherwise. I was told if I do that, it is taking my chances and I might have to do a visa run anyway. Likely, it is just the teco office being unaware of the regulations.

[quote=“dan2006”]Thanks for the responses everyone.
The TECO here was sure that the visa free entry cannot be converted to an arc but the website of MOFA says otherwise. I was told if I do that, it is taking my chances and I might have to do a visa run anyway. Likely, it is just the teco office being unaware of the regulations.[/quote]

May I know which TECO office you applied at?

[quote=“dan2006”]Thanks for the responses everyone.
The TECO here was sure that the visa free entry cannot be converted to an arc but the website of MOFA says otherwise. I was told if I do that, it is taking my chances and I might have to do a visa run anyway. Likely, it is just the teco office being unaware of the regulations.[/quote]

This is a situation where the reps have no idea what happens in the process after if leaves their hands. All they know is that the visa they give you cannot be converted to a resident visa. It’s true but they are completely unaware that you can obtain a 2nd visa (not students apparently) within Taiwan and convert that to a resident (3rd) visa.

I don’t know why the students are such a problem to get new visas however. Even if you want to change to another place to study Chinese, you need to do a visa run.

And as much as I would love to name and shame the TECO office that told me this, I’m going to hold off for now as the visa is still in process :wink:

OP: When you left in June, did you sign a ‘contract termination’ document?

The only thing I can think of for getting the special ‘not for conversion to a work permit’ stamp is that you left before a contract/work permit was up and your old employer was forced to terminate your work permit with the ‘employee is AWOL’ box checked. This is a bad box to have checked if you plan to have a future in TW.

Employers are required to notify the labor department within 72 hours of an employees last working day. They can be fined hundreds of thousands of $NT if they are caught in violation. This is why employers shove those ‘contract termination’ forms in front of our faces so quickly.

If you left TW with an active work permit, and they terminated it in absentia, the MOFA puts you on a list that is suppose to make it very difficult for you to come back to Taiwan and seek employment again.

This is just a thought.

Anyway, good luck and keep us updated on how your situation pans out.

[quote=“Maceck”]OP: When you left in June, did you sign a ‘contract termination’ document?

The only thing I can think of for getting the special ‘not for conversion to a work permit’ stamp is that you left before a contract/work permit was up and your old employer was forced to terminate your work permit with the ‘employee is AWOL’ box checked. This is a bad box to have checked if you plan to have a future in TW.

Employers are required to notify the labor department within 72 hours of an employees last working day. They can be fined hundreds of thousands of $NT if they are caught in violation. This is why employers shove those ‘contract termination’ forms in front of our faces so quickly.

If you left TW with an active work permit, and they terminated it in absentia, the MOFA puts you on a list that is suppose to make it very difficult for you to come back to Taiwan and seek employment again.

This is just a thought.

Anyway, good luck and keep us updated on how your situation pans out.[/quote]

No, they said they are giving everyone that type of visitor visa now, they didn’t even ask my name.

I did leave before the contract was up and they made me sign something but I received no notice from immigration that I had to leave so I believe I left before they cancelled it. The company was ok with my leaving so I would hope they would not report me as runaway.

On second thought, I can’t remember if I signed anything when I left.

If they’re doing this new stamp for everyone, it shouldn’t be hard to find this out. I’m sure a couple hundred newbies just landed in Tw last month with the intention of teaching English legally here.

The stamp does say ‘not for conversion to a work permit’. This is odd wording, because a ‘work permit’ is not related to a visa. You ‘convert’ your visitor visa to a working visa, which is soon-after converted to an ARC.

anyway, I’m interested to know how things work out. send an update when/if you do get a work permit / ARC.

[quote=“Maceck”]If they’re doing this new stamp for everyone, it shouldn’t be hard to find this out. I’m sure a couple hundred newbies just landed in Tw last month with the intention of teaching English legally here.

The stamp does say ‘not for conversion to a work permit’. This is odd wording, because a ‘work permit’ is not related to a visa. You ‘convert’ your visitor visa to a new visa (paid for but doesn’t even show up in your passport) and you convert that to a resident visa, which is soon-after converted to an ARC.

anyway, I’m interested to know how things work out. send an update when/if you do get a work permit / ARC.[/quote]

I changed the bold.