Contracts in English legally binding?

In Taiwan, are job contracts drawn up only in English legally binding? In other words, can an employer say “You want to sue me for breaking the contract? Go ahead. You’ll lose because there is no official Chinese version of the contract, only an English one.” [Evil laughter]

Good question…

A contract is a contract. If they signed and chopped, I believe an English contract is fine in TW.

You have to be careful if you have two versions (i.e. one in Chinese and one in English) of a contract. In such a case, if you want the English version to be binding, then you will have to include a clause that state in case of any breech, the interpretation of the English version will prevail.
In the PRC, if you don’t specify, the Chinese version is law. In TW, I don’t know…

Will a lawyer please clarify…

I would be surprised if contracts didn’t have to be registered somewhere to be valid (the way they do in the PRC) and I would doubt you could register an English one.

Register a contract somewhere? How do you mean?

Well, some countries, like the PRC require certain contracts to be registered - with who depends on the contract. It means you bring a copy to the government body who keep a copy and give you a receipt and the contract is valid from that date. I suspect it’s not the same in Taiwan - no one ever mentioned this to me when I signed work contracts. I never paid too much attention to the contracts anyway, because they simply aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Does anyone know of any foreigner who has ever sued and won on the terms of a contract of employment in Taiwan ?

General contracts should not have to be registered here in Taiwan. And, unless the contract says Chinese is Binding… yup an English contract signed (or Chopped) is valid.


You are correct. If a contract is properly executed by two parties in Taiwan, and each party has the legal capacity to enter into the contract, and the contract states specifically that the terms of the English language version (assuming there is also a Chinese or other language version) shall prevail, or where there is no other language version, then the contract will be valid in Taiwan.

No registration is required, although in practice many Taiwanese like to have the signatures of the parties to/on a contract notarized. I belive that signatures (absent chops) will be sufficient… in such case, however, it would be prudent to have witnesses also sign the contract.

So how about a contract between a newly-arrived foreigner without an ARC, and an employer who knows that he doesn’t have an ARC?

More specifically, if you’re working for someone who is with-holding money for work done before you have an ARC, how do you get your money?

How do you walk away from a ‘worthless’ contract and still get paid?

[quote=“tmwc”]So how about a contract between a newly-arrived foreigner without an ARC, and an employer who knows that he doesn’t have an ARC?]

I think that such a contract would probably be invalid, as the performance (working without legal authorization to do so) contemplated by the contract would be illegal, and the laws of many jurisdictions do not permit parties to contract to perform illegal acts. I believe Taiwan takes this same legal approach.

Nonetheless, the school holds most of the good cards in this game and it will be difficult to get paid for work performed before the ARC was obtained. Who stands to lose the most? The school might get a slap on the wrist (I am guessing, as I do not know the relevant law), but you could very well face deportation.

I think it may be best to “cut your losses” in this case. Anyone know better?

I’m with Hexuan on this one: “I never paid too much attention to the contracts anyway, because they simply aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.”

Taiwanren are less accustomed to lawyers and lawsuits than westerners (Yanks anyway) are, and the authority figure (parent, teacher or boss) lays down the rules. They may give you a contract, or not, but if they wish to break it they will. As for you, TMWC, wanting to walk away from the contract, you are completely at your boss’s mercy. It doesn’t matter whether you were working legally or not, if the boss withheld and you quit the job, you will only get the if the boss feels like giving it to you – that is if your boss is decent and you don’t screw him by quitting suddenly. If your boss doesn’t pay you, too bad. You won’t sue and if you do you’ll probably lose.

I’m not actually contemplating quitting, at least no more than I do on any other bad day, but the topic came up the other day.

I was interested to know what the long-termers thought about this sort of thing as most newbies I’ve met arrive, sign a contract, start work, and then their employer starts organising an ARC. Look at the terms of IACC’s - - contracts and you have an awful lot of people waiting for miscellaneous bonuses that may or may not be paid at the end of a year.

My feeling was that, if they decide not to pay up, the agreement you entered into before you knew the situation is unenforceable. I don’t know that they won’t pay, but given my experiences and observations of agents in general - in several countries - I’m not super-optimistic.

Slightly off-topic: IACC deduct NT$8000 per month for the first three months you work. This is listed as a ‘service charge’. If you successfully complete your 12 months the money is refunded as an additional bonus.

Aside from the fact that the contract itself is worthless, is this practise legal? Anybody?

It’s hard to say whether it’s legal - the IACC contract is unintelligible and self-contradictory. I guess the deductions amount to a simple reduction in salary (ie 40k - 8k = 32k) and the “bonus” is a straightforward conditional completion bonus. In those terms, it’s not illegal.

I am just repeating information that has been said; however, it is first had info for me. I visited a lawyer last week to assess the validity of my contract. If the school name on the contract and that on your ARC are not the same, the contract is illegal. -so said the lawyer-
so just for fun I asked about the contract’s language. He said that English, French, German, etc., etc., etc. As long as your signature is on it, it is legal.
So from that visit, I would assume that as long as you don’t have your arc yet or don’t have your arc through that school, nothing would bind you to that school.
I only wish I had known first. hopefully this can help someone.

I assume the employer name is still written in Chinese on the ARC, and therefore should be written in Chinese in the contract too.