Hayashi, let me only discuss one part of your post for now, namely about working in Taiwan. Whether/when/how you do the TARC application we can perhaps discuss another time.
The thing about working while having a TARC is a really confusing one because it touches two complicated subjects: Getting the right to work legally in Taiwan, and the definition of what is working in Taiwan.
First of all a small note, as mentioned before I’m mostly familiar with TARC cases based on AF353 or AF384. If one acquires a TARC via employment then obviously that person has some kind of work permit, and if you are a student then as far as I know there are some specific regulations governing that. But let’s discuss being one of AF353 or AF384 TARC applicant.
In general, if foreigners want to work legally in Taiwan, they can apply for an Open Work Permit. The Open Work Permit allows you to do any kind of work without relying on an employer, who would alternatively arrange the working permit for you. As far as I know, foreigners can only apply for one if you also have an alien permanent resident certificate (APRC, in contrast to simply ARC). This kind of foreigner would have lived in Taiwan for 5 years, and then applied for an APRC (
just to emphasize, TARC is “our” NWOHR thing, foreigners do not apply for a TARC foreigners renouncing their citizenship also apply for a TARC). Alternatively, foreigners marrying Taiwanese citizens are granted working rights anyway.
Now, how can a TARC holder work in Taiwan, possibly to finance his 1-year stay until citizenship? This can be answered rather straightforward: If you are an NWOHR, but do not have citizenship/nationality (= passport) of another state, then you can simply work in Taiwan legally. However, if you do have dual citizenship, then you are considered a foreigner when it comes to working rights which means that you require a work permit.
“Require a Work Permit” means that either your employer arranges everything, or you have an Open Work Permit. So who can apply for an Open Work Permit? This is regulated in this law, article 51: Employment Service Act - Article Content - Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China (Taiwan)
- A refugee permitted to stay in the Republic of China;
- One permitted to live with his/her lineal relative who has a registered domestic residence in the Republic of China; or
- One permitted to stay permanently in the territory of the Republic of China.
For the second, the Chinese version says “經獲准與其在中華民國境內設有戶籍之直系血親共同生活者” and for the third “經取得永久居留者” (roughly: has acquired permanent residency.) Keep that in mind for later.
Obviously we can ignore the first case so let’s look at the 2nd one. This is more or less the status which you have when you are a TARC holder based on AF353. To be specific, your ROC parent has a household in Taiwan, and you may or may not live directly with him. The wording says 共同生活 which means “living together,” although I can’t say for sure whether this means you really need to live in the same building. Theoretically, what happens if your ROC grandfather allows you to live with him, and then he goes on a 1-year world trip (but keeping his HHR active)? Alternatively, let’s interpret the criteria to be the same of applying under AF353 which means: Your ROC dependent is alive, and has a household registration. Which is in contrast to AF384: your ROC dependent may or may not be alive, but the HHR is “unused” (until you come and join it).
And indeed, when it comes to acquiring an Open Work Permit, this seems to be the difference between AF353 and AF384. AF353 may simply apply for an Open Work Permit, where it seems AF384 cannot (c.f. http://soggyspen.pixnet.net/blog/post/255424484-我們無戶籍國民怎麼工作%3F). The reason behind could be that, for the government, the active household is some kind of “guarantee” which AF384 applicants cannot offer. Why this guarantee needs to be there I don’t know, and it seems NWOHRs without another nationality are granted working rights out of mercy.
In the linked blog post, the author mentions that AF384 holders have troubles applying for an Open Work Permit, but it might still be possible. Here is the application form: http://hr.mcu.edu.tw/sites/default/files/MCU/外國人工作許可申請書(個人)_1.pdf (I pulled it off somewhere, so if someone knows the official location, please add that)
Let’s look at what is required for TARC holders. Address of Resident in Taiwan (在台居住地址) is probably where you live—more on that later. Then on the 2nd page: “one original most recent 3-month household registration transcript of lineal relatives living with the Employed” (直系血親共同生活者3 個月內之戶籍謄本正本及親屬關係證明文件).
Notice that on this form, in contrast to many other government forms, you can only fill out one address field. Usually you provide both your HHR address, and the address of where you live. But it seems here they only want one address which is the address of your dependent (“lineal relative(s) living with the Employed”). The blog author now says that, if the HHR address of the AF384 holder is the same as the one that you would enter there, then you could obtain an Open Work Permit. For him (the author) this was not possible, because the address of his father’s HHR was not updated when he moved elsewhere and later passed away, so he couldn’t live there anymore (I assume the apartment simply belonged to someone new). All of this raises the questions:
- Like mentioned before, does the TARC holder really needs to live there with his dependent? Must he not have any other living space? (Let’s say the HHR address is in Taipei, but you want to have another room in New Taipei City just for fun).
- Does the ROC dependent really need to live? The blog author simply says this might go unnoticed. You need to bring an HHR transcript, but what if your dependent’s HHR transcript never says that he already passed away [in another country]?
OK, so it seems like it’s getting a little bit difficult for AF384 holders to apply for an Open Work Permit. Perhaps the criteria of “Who can apply for an Open Work Permit” really doesn’t include him (“One permitted to live with his/her lineal relative who has a registered domestic residence in the Republic of China …”). But let’s briefly look at the next one: One permitted to stay permanently in the territory of the Republic of China.
The target of this wording probably is foreigners who have an APRC, but I just find it a little bit strange … isn’t the TARC something like having a permanent residency (= 經取得永久居留者)? After all, you don’t need to leave Taiwan, simply put. And for what it’s worth, a foreigner’s APRC is cancelled if he leaves Taiwan for too long, (c.f. Resident certificate - Wikipedia) so what really is permanent?
I know that I’m probably getting carried away a little bit, but I just find it strange that AF384 are seemingly arbitrarily excluded from applying to an Open Work Permit. Does this mean the government didn’t think about how AF384 holders support themselves during their stay, or perhaps really expect them not to work? I find both possibilities equally strange.
Part of me wants to know what would happen if an AF384 holders walks into the MOL and asks for an Open Work Permit—are we worrying too much, and they have some SOPs guiding that? But then again, I currently don’t want to risk anything …
All in all, to answer the question on how a TARC holder can support himself while waiting for citizenship: You could apply for an Open Work Permit and work legally, you could live off savings, or perhaps you are receiving money without working … Which brings me to the second part (yes this post is long).
I’ll begin this with a follow-up question to:
Question: would [working for a foreign employer] be allowed on the Taiwan side, […] I did a bit of searching and I think, unfortunately, this still would not be allowed as it would still be classified as “work” in Taiwan (even though the work is done for a foreign company and the salary is paid to a foreign bank account), because the work activity itself is being done in Taiwan […]
Just curious, what source of yours says that this is not allowed? I would like to know so that we can possibly group different views on this problem.
As a matter of fact, the question of “Can I work in Taiwan?” has been going around Forumosa for a while. It doesn’t only concern NWOHRs—digital nomads come to Taiwan and work online, largely not for Taiwanese, and it seems tolerated or at least not prosecuted. Are they breaking the law unknowingly?
The law is written very strict, something like “a foreigner must not work in Taiwan,” and it also clarifies that what they mean by “work” is not based on having written contracts or compensation, but simply the act of working itself.
However, when this topic comes up, most people quite reasonably argue that doing online work for someone entirely different does not really concern Taiwan at all, even more so if the money that you receive by this stays in your home country. So far, on Forumosa, we got this hint of an answer here: Freelancing in Taiwan - #40 by yyy
According to this, if only your person is in Taiwan, but your work has no relation to Taiwan whatsoever (e.g. no one pays you NTD, you don’t spend NTD, etc.), then you could do this kind of “work” or more specifically, you don’t require a work permit.
Sadly, we didn’t double-check this answer, but I did some further research on this. Here is what I found:
This is a government-issued clarification about the question what constitutes “work,” and that under specific circumstances, those people in Taiwan who do “work” do not require a work permit. There is no English version, but you can open the link and follow along and perhaps the others can double-check my interpretation.
Basically, it first clarifies that employment possibilities for local Taiwanese must be protected, and that no foreigner may work in Taiwan. However, they acknowledge that due to economic and cultural changes, it is necessary to revise their regulations: Provided that you do not jeopardize the employment possibilities of local Taiwanese, and your work falls under the category as specified in their attachment, then you don’t require a work permit while you “work” in Taiwan.
And then there’s the attachment (link at the bottom): https://laws.mol.gov.tw/Download.ashx?pfid=0000236522 Which is a table that outlines several “types of work.” The three columns are:
- The kind of work being done by the foreigner
- Examples of this kind of work
- Necessary considerations
Remember if you work falls in one of these categories, then it seems you don’t need a work permit. The 5th (the last) category is particularly interesting—the first columns says “其他非為境內任何人提供勞務為目的，且無妨礙本國人就業機會之行為” (Any other kind of work that is not done for any local entity, and that doesn’t jeopardize the local job market).
The examples include stuff like translating Buddhist scriptures, but (1) and (3) are interesting:
- (1) (Abbreviated) A foreigner who is employed by a foreign government, a foreign non-government organization, or a foreign business who comes to Taiwan conducting interviews, doing background research, or collecting image materials.
- (3) A foreigner who does not have a work permit, but sells goods online in a self-employed manner or sells goods at a market stall. However, these “goods” must not contain doing actual work for other people (e.g. doing massages or giving language lessons).
So it does seem that the government relaxes their rules a little bit, but what I would like to know:
- Does my work merely need to fall under one of these categories (i.e. the first columns), or does it have to match one of their examples?
- I’m actually surprised that selling goods at a market stall is legal for foreigners—of all things that would be illegal, I would have that counted in because you are earning real NTD money. Instead, the table states “goods are OK, but services aren’t,” implying that the government thinks these services will target real persons in Taiwan (e.g. the massages thing). But what if a service is done online for people completely outside of Taiwan?
Perhaps the others could join in and offer their thoughts on these exceptions. Did I misunderstand something? Anyone here who would offer writing a message to the MOL asking for clarification?