I hope I can ask here for some expert advice on visas.
I have lived in Taiwan for about five years (this time), one of which was as a student, three were working as a teacher at an international school. After my last contract almost a year ago I expected to find work early this academic year, but I didn’t, so for the last year I’ve used my two extensions and written a book, while waiting for the next academic year to start (when jobs in my field come up).
I’ve just been offered and accepted a job at a reputable school from August, but my ARC expires in one month. The school will process my work permit next week, but the job start date on my contract is set in stone for August.
I thought that I would be able to extend my ARC until I started my new work, but the immigration office refused, saying that I needed to leave Taiwan, and then come back on a new visa before my new job starts. They are, of course, absolutely right, and legally speaking I don’t have a leg to stand on: I’ve used my two extensions. But there’s literally no way for me to get home (New Zealand), and even if I can somehow get there and back (perhaps if the situation improves in a month), or possibly do a visa run to Sweden (one country with a TECO office which seems set to stay open) it seems absurd to do a visa run in these circumstances, risking bringing the virus back to Taiwan. I have an apartment and a life here and it seems crazy to leave just for a piece of paper.
I feel confident that if I could plead reason and compassion under these circumstances, that surely someone could rubber stamp an extension until my official start date? Or am I being naively optimistic? And, if I can’t renew it, what would anyone suggest I do? Even if I can find a way back to New Zealand, I doubt I will be able to return, even if I can get the visa, a flight, and quarantine myself in my apartment for two weeks (if it is still required then). I will visit the New Zealand Trade Office on Monday, in the hope that they might be able to help.
If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions I would be very grateful.