Is It Legal To Work for Your Room? Like at a hostel

I know one hostel where foreign backpackers can stay and work for their room. Some people do it for a few days, some people do it for weeks or even longer a few months. Shorter visitors just help clean up and longer-term get more into helping manage the desk.

These are not people here and have a job or are students in Taiwan. They’re just backpacker’s roaming around Taiwan or Asia.

Is it legal? Are there now places like this? advertises 90 places in Taiwan.

Have seen some blogs that offer that.
Don’t know if govt cares about the legality of it.
The same goes for couchsurfing. Free boarding in exchange for culture 交換.

They’ve really cracked down on Airbnb so… Maybe not this.

Because Airbnb involvss cash transaction

Wasn’t there an artist who was provided a stay for his/her performance and was deported?

Unless having a working holiday visa, I think it is illegal.

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“Volunteering” is illegal isn’t it? Even if you are “working for nothing”, seems technically still illegal.

Ya, unless working holiday visa.

Volunteering is now legal, I believe, with the usual allowance for “Who knows what a given official will say on a given day”:


They probably say that the hostel is an ‘animal shelter’?

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A little off topic but I was wondering if Woofing exists in Taiwan: you stay in a farm, do some work and get food and accommodation in exchange. Would be a convenient way to work on one’s Chinese, given that the family can speak in Chinese of course, not in Taiwanese.

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Some volunteering is legal. From that thread:

The MOL’s letter actually covers only holders of white collar work permits, as Feiren noted, but not including artists/performers (non-missionaries in class F or ESA 46.1.6). This means blue collar foreign workers and tourists are also excluded

Tando is right as usual. Without a WHV or some other form of permission, working at a hostel is illegal.


They are not working for nothing, it seems there is a explicit quid pro quo, ie housing in exchange for their services.

Big time illegal. Let’s face it: you’re working. You aren’t volunteering for a charity. You are taking a job away from a local.

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Back in the day I stayed frequently with American Youth Hostels and
International Youth Hostels (Europe).
In the morning they made you draw from a box a piece of paper that listed a chore to be done.
They were little chores like sweeping the floor, cleaning the bathroom or collecting the bedding.
It was definitely volunteering because we paid for our room. Wouldn’t these kinds of chores just be considered picking up after yourself?
I have never seen an official iyh hostel in Taiwan. it’s been awhile, I’m not sure the sure “doing a chore” tradition is even still going on.

Hmm I had a classmate at my university that did it for quite a while, but I doubt is legal.
I heard you need some kind of permit even to volunteer so i’d Assume this is considered work as there is some kind of retribution.