Is it legal for companies in Taiwan to base salary on residency status?

Hello, my sister is a Taiwanese national without household registration (NWOHR) and is living and working in Taiwan on a TARC (Taiwan Area Residency Certificate) which is basically like an ARC, for those unfamiliar.

She was told that when she obtains a Taiwanese ID card in the future, that they would cut her salary by half. That seems kind of strange, doesn’t it? In the US where I’m from, an employer can’t make salary decisions based on the employee’s residency status. You make the same whether you are on an employment visa or a Green Card or a US Passport.

I understand that some companies offer additional benefits like moving expense reimbursement or housing stipends to ARC employees which makes sense since they are moving here from another country, but to base their whole salary on their residency status? Is that legal?


Its bullshit.
as far as i know the only implication residency could have is on tax rates (the calculation differs if you stay in the country more than 183 days a year), but cutting your salary since you have residency is unheard of.
She should start looking for a new place of work …


It’s illegal.


Even if it weren’t illegal, why would anyone work for an employer that pays one category of worker differently than another? You’re doing the same job. Taiwan law actually requires equal pay for equal work :rofl:


In case they try any funny business.


Sorry to sound pessimistic, but residency status IS something that an employer can base salary on because I believe RESIDENCY STATUS isn’t on the protection list of the Ministry of Labor, here’s the link: Prohibition of Employment Discrimination

I believe above refers to equality during the hiring process. If your sister has already been hired gets her pay cut due to her residency status changed to TW citizen, it’s more likely a civil matter between her and her employer as long as her pay is above minimum wage. I could certainly be wrong though

I think it falls under “place of origin”. i.e. you can’t pay a foreigner more (or less) than a Taiwanese.

I think the term they would use is “nationality”. I’m pretty sure that it always included that preamble, but I think they may have removed the word nationality with this revision.

Oh, that was the 2012 revision.

Place of origin refers to the place where a person comes from, which has nothing to her residency status here in Taiwan, the way I see it. Let’s say your sister comes from the U.S. holding a U.S. passport but was already entitled to TW citizenship since birth, just that she didn’t apply for it until now, would you say her place of origin is the U.S. or TW?

Anyway, even if it falls under “place of origin”, prohibition of employment discrimination was meant for sorting out the candidates during the hiring process. If your sister has already been hired and later on gets her pay cut, I would think that’s something between her and her employer to work it out so long as her pay is above minimum wage. Again, not legal advice.

What could be relevant is Article 62 of the Immigration Act

Article 62
Any person shall not discriminate against people residing in the Taiwan Area on the basis of nationality, race, color, class and place of birth.

I would guess that the Employment Services Act would be more relevant here. But, it is an odd situation.

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Sorry to sound like a douchebag and I am not supporting what your sister’s employer is doing. I would be happy to be wrong

I think it’s implied that if a person is living in Taiwan on a Taiwanese ID card that their “place of origin” is Taiwan, even if they were born and raised overseas.

If you look at the employment laws in the US, residency status is also not directly mentioned as a protected class, yet it’s illegal to base hiring and salary decisions on it.

Don’t worry about it. It’s just that from all the research I’ve done, and from talking to some of my Taiwanese and foreign friends (and from other responses in this thread), it already seems pretty clear to me that it’s illegal.

Thanks for your help though.

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If I were her I would talk to the school about it. I know many schools have this policy of paying foreign teacher higher than local teachers, it’s an unspoken rule. The person who informed your sister about this policy could be just following protocol. Your sister needs to talk to the big boss.

It will take a lot of resources and time take the school to legal proceeding and eventually prove the act illegal. There are tons of good schools out there. Just my 2 cents

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Thanks for your suggestions. It’s unsettling that you know many schools that have a policy of paying foreign teachers a higher salary than local ones. It seems ok to me to do that on the basis of English proficiency, but not simply for the fact that they are foreigners/ARC holders.

Ya, it’s stupid. That’s why I think your sister should talk to the big boss instead of HR who simply follows order.

That’s an interesting question. One stated point of the ESA is to “protect equal opportunities for citizens”. While this practice is so common that it would seem to be accepted to some degree, the CLA might view such a bald move as discrimination. I’m not sure if other companies make things so explicit.

I once got this response from them on a related question


So, employers can discriminate on the basis of special characteristics needed for particular jobs. But, nationality itself shouldn’t have an impact on that in this situation, so it could well be an “unfair” or “unreasonable” condition. Then again, nationality isn’t mentioned in the act.

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Thanks for the info. Yeah, I think “nationality” and “place of origin” and “residency status” are all interchangeable terms in anti-discrimination laws, even though in real life a person born in Taiwan could very well be an ARC holder and vice versa.

Basically just three different ways of saying “foreigner” without using the offensive term.