HELP! My wife got a Job In Taiwan, I'm very confused about my work options

I am a US citizen living in HK, but my Hong Kong citizen wife just got a job offer in Taiwan. The terms are very confusing. And I haven’t had time for a deep dive on the legalities. HR hasn’t told my wife the exact type of work visa/permit she would have. I’m hoping some kind souls on this forum can help me understand some general points.

My main questions:
Would I legally be able to remote freelance for companies outside Taiwan?
Would I legally be able to freelance for companies inside Taiwan?
If I move to Taiwan, will I be stuck teaching English?

It sounds like I would be eligible for a work permit. Albeit, I would have to find a TW employer for to sponsor me for either FT or PT work. Is this correct?

I’m reading that work permits for foreigners are restricted to certain industries. Except for Teaching English, most of these are quite technical or in niches I don’t qualify for. Fortunately, I qualify to teach English. However, I currently teach media/film/design, and with this move I’m considering returning to the industry (as a freelancer or perhaps FT).

I’m not fresh out of college: I have a masters degree and many years of media and teaching experience. So I could qualify for decent jobs if I’m allowed.

Hope this makes sense and you can help me.

Sure, why not? Taxes are a different question. People on this forum will insist you pay every penny, but if locals aren’t paying tax on their rental income why should you be paying tax on your freelance work for offshore clients?

You may need a work permit, but if you have residency via your wife there will be less of a stringent check on it since you have a local ARC #.

Only if you are low effort. Tons of companies here that export to Western market and need English speaking PR/Marketing/Comms people. Usually Chinese isn’t required.

unless things have changed a spouse on an ARC is not allowed to work without getting a work arc on his/her own.

so you could freelance outside taiwan on a hush hush basis but freelancing in taiwan would be illegal as you are not allowed to work without your own qualifying ARC Far as I know


Have you heard of the gold card? If you are eligible then it would make things much easier.

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There are few jobs available for foreigners that just show up in Taiwan in industries other than teaching English. Speaking mandarin Chinese would help but still not many. Daily life and business is done in Chinese.

Thanks everybody for all the helpful responses. If I could ask some follow up questions, and please bear with me as might get some terms wrong.

It sounds like I need to get my own ARC, even if I want to freelance. So my next big question: Are ARC’s tied to a specific employer/industry or could they be general purpose in my situation?

Worse case scenario:
If I get cleared to teach English PT at a cram school, would it still be illegal to do a freelance media job for a local firm?
Alternately, would I be able to freelance for international clients with a cram school ARC, since I’m not taking jobs from locals? (assuming I pay TW taxes)

@tommy525: As a foreigner, I’m very careful to follow the local laws, and would do the same in TW. I’ll pay whatever tax is due because as a resident.

@projectmaximus: I’ll look at the gold card but it sounds like one of those rich man visas were you ‘invest’ in the target country. I’m middle class, but not that rich!

Thanks everybody for info on the overall hiring climate. I know I’d go against the tide of the typical TW expat job pool. However, for my field its an uphill battle regardless of country. Good to see there’s some possibilities. Since I work with more with visuals, language could be less of an issue. But I realize its not like HK. (but that’s a separate discussion)

You’ve never heard of the PC hardware or electronics industry?

It’s actually quite easy to get. They have a category where if you’ve made over 65k a year in salary you are eligible.

Work permit. He doesn’t have to change his ARC.

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it’s not very clear, but might be yes.

if you earn 160k NTD per month, you almost automatically qualify.


Most of legal information on work permit is here.

What’s the diff btwn ARC and work permit (sorry all these terms are confusing, brand new to this)

Sure, it’s Taiwan. Those are included as very few jobs for a foreigner to just show up and get a job.


I think of the ARC as an ID card - it has your passport number on it and your place of residence.

The work permit documents that you are allowed to work here.

If you have permanent residency, then you automatically have permission to work here so PARC holders do not need to get a work permit

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That’s not true, we just advice people to file taxes when legally needed. Big difference.

Things may have changed but I was under the impression that a work permit and possible resultant ARC is tied to a particular job with a particular company.

When you have a PARC then you are free to work for whomever.

The US Green Card does NOT restrict where you can work (for whom or which company) so a PARC will be something like that. While an ARC is very restrictive.

Say you have a work permit and resultant ARC (if needed, maybe not if you got an ARC already from a spouse) from teaching english for ABC School. you can NOT freelance even for yourself legally. You can only work for ABC School in the stated capacity for which you got the work permit.

Is this still the case?

Indeed. Better apply for this, even before you get in, so you can work without problems.

As said, your ARC as the spouse of a foreign employee will allow you to legally live here and no more. Better cover your own derriere by acquiring the legal means to work here.

Start reading through the gold card thread, if you qualify for that (easiest path is past income), then you’ll likely be good to go. The work permit in this case is open and you can change jobs freely.

Otherwise, to work, you need to have a local company or branch office of a foreign one sponsor a work permit. English teaching is the most common, but certainly other industries sponsor work permits. Permits obtained this way are tied to that specific job and company. If you change companies, a new work permit needs to be obtained.

The work permit is the key, and just coming here on a spousal ARC doesn’t permit you to work in most situations.


Your ARC is your permission to live.

Your work permit is your permission to work.


Wow. Looks like the gold card would be a great option, and allow me to freelance away. My current job means I would clear the income requirements, which you all seem to (collectively) say is the main thing the Gov’t/Immigration looks for.

Culture and Arts seems to be the best fit (maybe education as well) and it seems I meet some of those criteria, although they seem vaguely worded. I’m not sure what they mean by a “post of significant capacity” or a “major” award. But it seems good.

I took a quick look at the Gold Card thread and its a bit of a sprawl. Hopefully I can find a good summary someplace. But the weekend is here, and I can focus on this a bit more. Whew! All these big life changes in the middle of crazy work weeks.

Thanks everybody for all your help.


You’ll figure this out, but you should apply under the economy category I think it’s called. Anyway, the one that is solely based on salary. Spend some time in that thread, it’s worthwhile and I think there’s a summary of the process somewhere around here.

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