Computer tech help

okay…i dunno anything about the computer sales industry in taiwan.

but my boyfriend is a a computer tech person for IBM …so do you think he can do anything with his computer skills…in terms of maybe helping out the english speaking community in taiwan…in terms of computer tech support or setting up ppl’s computers? is there a market for this?


I think that’s a fairly astute analysis of the situation. I will give you an example from my experience. I once went to work in a purely English language related role in a local law firm. After a few days it came to arranging a work permit. I think I was to be getting about 75K for regular hours. On the eighth day the firm asked me if I was a qualified solicitor in my home jurisdiction with two year’s post qualified experience (because then the work permit would be for a foreign lawyer, which is the only category they could get). Not once had it occurred to them that a qualified foreign attorney with 2 years’ PQE would be commanding a salary of well in excess of USD50k a year plus benefits. The moral of the story is that to a local firm you are just a generic, one-size-fits-all foreigner. To them a Harvard JD with 20 years’ experience is identical to a 21 year old fresh graduate with a BA Basket Weaving with Origami. All that matters is that you speak English. (BTW the local firm in question were very nice about it all, and paid me over the odds for my time, but “sorry no we can’t get you a work permit”)

I knew no foreigners getting paid what their job was worth who worked for local firms.

Two comments:

On pay: It’s certainly true that local companies pay less than in the US or UK. On the other hand, our salaries. meager as they are, are much higher than what most locals get. Your average Taiwanese engineer or marketing person is probably getting 40~50K/month. College graduates with no experience are lucky to get 30K/month. I think quite a few foreigners in similar positions are getting 70~80K–almost twice the local salary. Also, keep in mind that taxes are much lower as is your cost of living if you choose not to live the Tianmu lifestyle. Now if you are not getting paid on a 14 month salary (the norm in Taiwan) then you are getting shortchanged since this is an unwritten standard. Personnel managers and less senior executives are making decisions about pay based on the prevailing norms in Taiwan. They know very little about pay scales outside Taiwan. I’m not trying to justify this in anyway–I’m just trying to explain how your Taiwanese colleagues see things.

On work permits. Getting work permits requires a lot of experience in dealing with the various government agencies who issue them. You also need to know which categories of work permit are easy to get and which ones are difficult to get and have experience in “presenting” the supporting documentation correctly. The HR departments at most companies have no idea how to go about it, so many foreigners are told that they can’t get a work permit by local companies. This situation is not helped by the fact that the internal rules for issuing work permits change all the time. Foreign companies pay $$$ to law firms and head hunting firms that know how to do this. Most local firms have no budget for this and,understandably, find the whole process too
mafan or troublesome,

Despite the difficulties in getting a work permit, I would be cautioulsy optimistic that your boyfriend could find a job in the tech industry. Much will depend in what kind of tech support he did at IBM. If his main expertise is in setting up hardware, he will have trouble finding something in his field because Taiwan is crawling with engineers. I would suggest that he try to find our which foreign firms have a presence in Taiwan (especially Hsinchu) and comb the job search sites like Monster You can also try searching in English on Positions in marketing and technical training are sometimes available there. Good luck.