Okay. So on 2004 11, 12 I signed a ONE YEAR contract with an agency.
That contract ended and I started doing outside work not knowing that they still had been getting work visas for me. I assumed that being that the money I was making through them was not enough to get me a work visa that they had quit getting them. Also, they had not asked me to pay for a new one. Which they had always done before.
On 12/19 05 my friend called me with a casting. I went to this casting for my friend and the next day the casting agent called that agency. The agency never once called me about this casting.
Monday (this week. Monday 2006 Jan 9) The owner’s wife calls me yelling at me. Seems that I still have a contract with them and cannot do this job. She starts yelling to other people and I hang up. An hour later the owner calls me and tells me that I still have a work visa with them, which I did not know. he also tells me how angry he is that I went to this casting that they sent me to and took the job without them. Which I did not. Well, I took the job but I didn’t go to the casting with them.
Now I get a phone call from a friend who is a casting agent saying that the agnecy’s agent is telling everyone that they are about to sue me.
I find this worrisome. I love Taiwan and don’t want to leave. Hell, even if i don’t love Taiwan I love my boyfriend.
I have the paper copy of the contract I signed. It says my contract ends on 04 November 12. But it is only a photo copy. And I would not put it past entertainment industry types to have faked a new one.
I know they have been continually telling the casting agent on the case I am working on that they have me contracted until 06 December.
What can they do? What can I do?
I’m a little freaked out.
First, what does it say on your contact about non-competition after the expiration of the contract, or penalties of any kind? Just out of curiosity. You may have signed something that prevents you from accepting work from anyone else for a period of time.
Second, on what basis are you currently staying in Taiwan? If you don’t have a work visa through VnL, who is your work visa through? If you’re illegal you are not going to have as good a position to work from, obviously.
If VnL insists that you are working for them, ask to see copies of the withholding statements for every month since your contract expired (in your view which I believe is correct). I might be wrong for entertainment/non-teaching/non-office jobs but my understanding is that a company has to guarantee a foreigner a certain minimum level of income and/or work hours to grant a work visa, which then entails paying taxes on the money. VnL is responsible for those taxes – unless, of course, you weren’t actually working for them, in which case they wouldn’t have to go to the Tax Office and explain what precisely the reason is that has prevented them from submitting your withholding tax in a timely fashion.
Others may have better advice, I advise you to wait and see other posters’ responses before acting. However, be advised that in Taiwan many people yell “I’m going to sue you”. I’ve even been served with papers threatening a lawsuit (the famous Post Office Registered Evidentiary letters) and they’re frightening, all right, but they are NOT a lawsuit.
I don’t have an ARC. I am on a Visitor’s Visa. I get my papers to get my ARC on the 17ths and subsequently, my ARC on the 19th or 20th of this month. This is not from my agency.
I was never able to get an ARC through the agency and the reason I signed the contract was so that I could get one.
The first Item on the contract is:
[quote]Working VIsa Apply:
Agency will apply the work visa for the talent, which will be issued for 6 months. The talent agreed to pay the working visa fee NT$500. As the working visa expires the talent can consider to extension it, if the talent had god a job and did pay the tax.[/quote]
(Please don’t make fun of my grammar, I copied it word for word)
The thing is that I never got a 6 month working visa. I got consecutive 3 month working visas. Which are useless to getting an ARC. The contract says they will let me consider to extend it. But they just exptended it without consulting me.
Number 8 is a bit fuzzy.
That does have a time period in it, but only once. Where as my former contracts with other agents have been clear that every part of that article relate to this time period…
Then again number 16 is being broken right now, but I need help so I can’t help it.
But they have been breaking that for a year. So many times they tell people about my contract. And now they are telling people they are suing me when people want to work with me. Suing me because of this contract. So that violates 17.
But those are the only clauses even remotely relative to this situation. The rest are about makeup and physical appearance.
I wouldn’t worry too much about this. Now that the Taiwanese have seen Ally McBeal they think everyone can just sue everyone else. I’m not being facetious here. Pre-1997 the “I’m gonna sue your ass” line was a rarity.
With the best will in the work I doubt either you or your agency is on a very secure legal footing. Yes, visiting performing artists and models can get temporary work permits making their work legal. I have been involved in the application process for one and it’s a doddle if you can show that the artist is actually a proper musician, or if the model is hired for work in Taiwan via a foreign agency. What I doubt is that there is any category of “model” ARC that a foreigner can get for residing here. Never heard of a “working visa”. I have heard of a visitor visa for temporary employment (the remark codes page on the BOCA website is gone so I don’t know what the code is - “B”?) but anyway, we know the visa laws here vary from day to day.
I think this shower of bolloxes is not going to sue you. I would ignore them. When they ring up say “Sorry, my lawyer says I can’t speak to you. Write to me and I will pass your letter on to him. Goodbye.”
Without a signed contract from you to send with the working visa extension, it’s not a legal extension. Don’t believe me, but call the appropriate govt. office to confirm that nobody actually extended the (nonexistent?) working visa. It seems like if they are angry they are more likely to be lying about details like that.
Well, at the risk of sounding unsympathetic (which I’m not; I know what these situations can be like) you DID sign something that says you will work only for them while you are in Taiwan. I don’t think they have a very good case (or at least a very worthwhile case – for small claims, and this would probably be a small claims case, right? I’m not a lawyer though – you have to go through arbitration twice before even seeing a judge, and they really want to settle these cases. The amount of money would be laughable most likely if there is no specific damages clause in the contract (assuming they are going to try to enforce the idea that you are theirs as long as you are in Taiwan).
The above advice seems sound, though – tell them your lawyer has advised you not to speak to them and for them to contact him. (Having a name and address might be a good idea if you choose to do this!) They would, I believe, find it difficult to explain why they wanted to send a person for whom they had not provided the appropraite documents to extend a work permit out on a job – and they had to “send you out on a job” if they want money from you. Surely if they realized you were working illegally, they would not want a commission…and surely if they claim a commisson on any work you do while in Taiwan, they have the responsibility to provide legal status for said work. Of course the above is a logical (sort of ) approach and may not apply.
I’ve been threatened with lawsuits while in Taiwan and it’s scary, but usually it doesn’t come to anything, so try not to get too upset about it. With time (less time than you think) most of these things just sort of fade away. There IS the question of whether you will have problems in the industry in the future, but that’s a separate issue, and may determine how nice you want to be to VnL now. Remember that “right” and “face” are sometimes different, and giving them face may grease your way to more money in the future, so you may want to put on an act and be conciliatory now if that’s the case. Just a thought, because Taiwan is a VERY small place.
I am also a little confused as to your present and past legal status here in Taiwan. If it turns out that you are or have been working illegally then I doubt that either you nor the employer would want to expose yourselves in this regard. Assuming though that you are currently working illegally and that your previous employer knows this, they may dob you in for working illegally so I would get legal quick smart.
You mention that you will be getting an ARC based upon a visitors visa for the purposes of study. From this I assume that you are a full time student who is working part-time. As you would no doubt be aware you need permission from the government to work part time if you are here for the purposes of study. If you don’t have such permission and have just accepted work off your own back in your free time then it would seem to me that you are working illegally.
Other than all of this I tend to think that Ironlady’s advice is advice that I would follow in your case.
I know for a fact (having seen them) that when I was working, I had a permit. My soon to be ARC is not from them. I have not been working for a while, which is why I thought I did not have a permit. I don’t work without a permit. I am goody two shoes and because my work has my face plastered all over everything it would be too easy for me to be caught.
Well, YOU should be the one who has the documents about YOUR work. The agency should be furnished copies by the government for its files; the originals of the letter of authorization and so forth should be YOURS. Of course many companies hold documents for one reason or another, some good, most not.
But in any event, what they’re claiming is not logical. (Not that that matters 100% of the time in Taiwan!) They say they are sponsoring your work permit. Your contract merely says that you signed for a one-year period. There is no way they can legally extend your ARC without you going in and doing it; and they cannot apply for another letter of authorization without your signing a new contract specifically dated for the next period of time. About the only, very thin, leg they have to stand on is that sentence about how you are working for them when you’re in Taiwan. But like I said, I don’t think they can do much legally against you at this point, but they could make a lot of trouble for you in the industry if they are connected at all (I don’t mean Mafia connections, just industry contacts). So think carefully about how you want to deal with them. Avoidance would still be my first choice. Just ignore it and most likely it will go away.
The Chinese version would not necessarily be the binding agreement. The Agreement should indicate whether the English or Chinese language version prevails. If it indicates that the English version prevails, then the English, rather than the Chinese version is binding.
Who is this Canadian boss and what is the name of their agency? If you are here on a visitor visa and do not or have not had a performance visa, all parties involved are illegal. The courts move much faster recently than in the past. What is your nationality and what type of work are you doing?(print, commercial, TV shows)
You may send me a PM if need be.
Also, even if a contract expires - if no written notice is given stating thatfact and both parties continue to act within the terms of the contract, then the contract continues to be enforcable indefinitely and requires a 30 day notice of termination.
That sounds extremely illogical. Is it law in Taiwan specifically? Because if that is the case, thousands of buxibans should be extending people’s ARCs right and left, and the authorities should not need proof of a new contract being signed each year.