No more visitor visas for TLI, Pioneer, CLD, CLI students?

It appears that you can no longer get a visitor visa if you are a TLI student (and by corollary a student at any other non-university Mandarin language school). Has anyone else had similar experiences? Are there still some overseas Taiwanese missions that might issue a visitor visa to a TLI student? What are the other options?

My story is as follows:

I am an Australian studying Chinese on a full-time basis in Taipei. I started my studies in May 2005 in a group class at Chinese Culture University. I then switched to TLI after my CCU course finished. I didn’t find the group class too effective and wanted to study one-on-one, and TLI’s one-on-one classes were much cheaper than CCU’s.

As I had come to Taipei on an extendable visitor visa (purpose: study), I had to leave last week because my 6 months were almost up. Up until then, I had had no trouble getting my visitor visa extended by the Foreign Affairs Police after showing them my Chinese Culture University attendance records and (after I had finished up at Chinese Culture University) my TLI attendance records.

I flew from Taiwan to Australia and went to the Taiwanese mission in Sydney to apply for a fresh visitor visa. However, much to my surprise, my application was rejected. The visa officer said that visitor visas can no longer be issued to TLI students. He said that if I wanted to get a new visitor visa I would need to change to one of the approved Mandarin training centers operated by a Taiwanese university (eg, Chinese Culture University or ShiDa).

I then called the section chief for visitor visas at the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Taipei. He confirmed this. He said that there was a new policy that you could only get a visitor visa if you studied at one of the university-based Mandarin language centers approved by the Ministry of Education (there are about 10 of them; they are listed on the Minstry’s website). So if you are studying at TLI (and presumably any of the other non-university Mandarin language schools, such as Pioneer, CLD or CLI), you can’t get a visitor visa.

Admittedly, some other TLI students I know of have had no problems in recent months getting visitor visas from the Taiwanese missions in Bangkok and Jakarta. I mentioned this to the Bureau of Consular Affairs officer and he said that these visas must have been issued before the new policy came into effect. He said that from now on you certainly can’t get a visitor visa on the basis of an enrolment at TLI.

Is this consistent with anyone else’s experiences? Are there any missions that still readily issue visitor visas to TLI students? Perhaps it’s just the Australian TECO offices that are strict and there are some places that have still not implemented the strict new policy coming out of Taipei.

I had always been led to believe (by the management at TLI as well as others’ experiences) that it would not be a problem to get a visitor visa on the basis of my TLI enrolment. I really don’t want to go back to Chinese Culture University - my one-on-one classes at TLI are much better than the group classes at CCU.

(PLEASE DON’T QUOTE THE BELOW IN FULL - I AM GOING TO ADD SOME MORE CONTENT.)

Here is what happened to me two years ago in Singapore. I applied for a visitor visa to study at Pioneer (having already paid the tuition fee) and was refused on the grounds that “We do not recognise that school.” I thought that was ridiculous because the school exists to teach Chinese to foreigners, who could not be there if they didn’t have a visa. I phoned my girlfriend to say that, sorry, I could not go back to Taiwan and would have to either find a job in Singapore, go to mainland China or go home to Britain. Now girlfriend jumps into action mode and phones the Taiwan office in
Singapore. Mr. Bureaucrat in Singapore now gives a different reason for refusing my visa. He says (I am not making this up) my Chinese is too good and therefore he doesn’t believe that I could really be going to school to learn any more!!! So now GF compiles a dossier of all the wonderful things I have done in Taiwan for disabled people etc. and faxes it to the rep. office. Maybe she also mentions on the phone that she knows A-Bian, Frank Hsieh and various other VIPs. Now I phone the office and they tell me to come in and talk to Mr. Bureaucrat himself this time instead of Mrs. Desk Lady. With a sour look on his face, Mr. B now relents and issues a visa, on which it says that the only thing I am allowed to do in Taiwan is study at Pioneer - the school they claimed just a few days before that they did not recognise! It also says that I am not allowed to work illegally without permission (sic). So if I get permission I can work illegally?? Duh.

Conclusion: The bureaucrats change the rules whenever they feel it, for no particular reason, and the representative offices abroad implement the rules however they fancy, depending on whether they like your face and whether or not they are suffering from premenstural tension or the male equivalent thereof. They have power over you and they want to see you squirm.

That’s another problem I’d really like to see addressed – people who have studied Chinese for some years, but still have a long way to go (like me) and want to study – really study – but aren’t allowed to get a visa to do so because ‘your Chinese is already so good.’ Isn’t there a new ruling that foreigners can study Chinese in Taiwan for only 1 or 2 years now? I’d understand that if there were real support mechanisms in place at the universities, but I also think the government is assuming that foreigners who come to Taiwan have the same background in Chinese that Taiwanese students going to the States have in English – which is obviously not so.

Lucky you didn’t get into trouble for “illegal volunteer work” though. Can’t have those foreigners helping people, you know. Well, unless they’re foreign students at universities – then they’re required to do so, so that they “feel more a part of Taiwanese society.” http://english.www.gov.tw/TaiwanHeadlines/index.jsp?categid=11&recordid=87177

[quote=“Frustrated”]It appears that you can no longer get a visitor visa if you are a TLI student (and by corollary a student at any other non-university Mandarin language school). Has anyone else had similar experiences? Are there still some overseas Taiwanese missions that might issue a visitor visa to a TLI student? What are the other options?

My story is as follows:

I am an Australian studying Chinese on a full-time basis in Taipei. I started my studies in May 2005 in a group class at Chinese Culture University. I then switched to TLI after my CCU course finished. I didn’t find the group class too effective and wanted to study one-on-one, and TLI’s one-on-one classes were much cheaper than CCU’s.

As I had come to Taipei on an extendable visitor visa (purpose: study), I had to leave last week because my 6 months were almost up. Up until then, I had had no trouble getting my visitor visa extended by the Foreign Affairs Police after showing them my Chinese Culture University attendance records and (after I had finished up at Chinese Culture University) my TLI attendance records.

I flew from Taiwan to Australia and went to the Taiwanese mission in Sydney to apply for a fresh visitor visa. However, much to my surprise, my application was rejected. The visa officer said that visitor visas can no longer be issued to TLI students. He said that if I wanted to get a new visitor visa I would need to change to one of the approved Mandarin training centers operated by a Taiwanese university (eg, Chinese Culture University or Shi-Da).

I then called the section chief for visitor visas at the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Taipei. He confirmed this. He said that there was a new policy that you could only get a visitor visa if you studied at one of the university-based Mandarin language centers approved by the Ministry of Education (there are about 10 of them; they are listed on the Minstry’s website). So if you are studying at TLI (and presumably any of the other non-university Mandarin language schools, such as Pioneer, CLD or CLI), you can’t get a visitor visa.

Admittedly, some other TLI students I know of have had no problems in recent months getting visitor visas from the Taiwanese missions in Bangkok and Jakarta. I mentioned this to the Bureau of Consular Affairs officer and he said that these visas must have been issued before the new policy came into effect. He said that from now on you certainly can’t get a visitor visa on the basis of an enrolment at TLI.

Is this consistent with anyone else’s experiences? Are there any missions that still readily issue visitor visas to TLI students? Perhaps it’s just the Australian TECO offices that are strict and there are some places that have still not implemented the strict new policy coming out of Taipei.

I had always been led to believe (by the management at TLI as well as others’ experiences) that it would not be a problem to get a visitor visa on the basis of my TLI enrolment. I really don’t want to go back to Chinese Culture University - my one-on-one classes at TLI are much better than the group classes at CCU.[/quote]

:s

When I was taking 1-on-1 classes at Maryknoll back in May, I applied for a visitor’s visa in Bangkok. I was ticked that they gave me a non-extendable visa, at the time thinking that if I had gone to HK, they would have given me an extendable visa. I had to go to the waijiaobu in Taizhong 60 days later and pay another $4300NT for an extendable visa.

That was my experience then. Who knows what the hell the policy is now?

Yes, I was worried about that. In fact I asked my girlfriend not to try the “Juba is a philanthropist” approach, but she insisted. She has been moaning ever since that I don’t have enough confidence in her judgement.

Fuck knows. They chop and change all the time.

If we go by the letter of the law, the bureaucrat in Sydney is 100% correct. It’s listed all over the TW gov’t websites. Chinese language schools that you find in the English TW papers do not appear on any official government approved Chinese school list for purposes of visa approvals. End of story, period.

However, as we veteran-living-in-Taiwan folks know, reality/practice and what the law says are often completely separate universes. Times, it seems, are changing.

As have been posted in these legal forums and threads, and which I shall repeat AGAIN is that things are starting to tighten up. That means in practice is that some departments and bureaus are going to try to conform their rules and regulations to the law. Furthermore, that means all the “tricks” and other means which foreigners use to stay in Taiwan may fail at some unpredictable moments causing someone great stress and consternation.

YMMV.

CLI/TLI was/is most likely a profitable business venture for the government and others who invest(ed) in the schools. It was so obvious when I signed up for Mandarin lesson because TLI/CLI was right accross the street from the FAP. I lived a 3-hour train ride away from Taipei and had to go back every month to sign the previous month’s attendance sheet. Each time, there was a stamp on a couple of days that read “Leave” (that freaked me out at first but it just meant that I was on leave/sick). I guess now they’re starting to crack down on that. Not a bad thing anyway. Taiwan is no longer the place it was to teach without a visa.

If you’re studying though, that’s a different matter. As long as you have proof of how you support yourself isn’t from working illegally. If one’s teaching illegally but attending school regulary, it’s a separate issue.

That’s funny about one of the poster’s experience: “You’re Mandarin is too good to be studying anymore.” But I guess they have the right to refuse you entry (I think). Just goes to show that the “who you know” thing reigns high in Taiwan.

I got that too once, but I had no planned school in mind, just wanted a visa, and sounded a bit iffy. But on the other hand I did a postgraduate year at Shi Da in Chinese for Foreigners and after I finished it there were still two levels above me, one of which was pure Classical Chinese. I mean you can study that for years even as a native speaker and still never be finished. I don’t understand this rule. As long as you’re paying your fees and taxes what do they care? Surely you don’t have to get a job just to prove your study of Chinese isn’t a cover for illegal work?

Well, you know, you can pick up a one year multiple entry visa for China within 24 hours at a cost of HK$750 in HK. It’s good for statying a year in China. All you need is the money and a couple of photos.

China streaks ahead and Taiwan lags yet again. 10-nil China. :unamused:

Frustratin’ innit.

HG

As anyone that knows my posts can attest, I’m pro-Taiwan, but sometimes . . .

Frustrated,

I always assumed what your found to be the case - i.e. that TLI et.al are good for a visa extension but no good for a visa application. Years ago when I first studied at TLI, several old hands at the school told me not to count on getting a new visa on the back of TLI’s paperwork. I think the office in Oz is telling you half-truths about some new policy or other - the rule stipulating that to get a visa, students have to be enrolled in a govt-approved university has been around for a while. Don’t go hunting around the region for a pliable TECO. Apply to Tamkang and get back in with their bit of paper (unlike most LCs, they have classes opening-up every month I believe). Once back in the 'wan, go back to TLI. When your visa expires, reapply to Tamkang before you leave the country and go through the process again… What’s a few health checks between friends?

Sad to say, the best visa you (i.e. an Ozzie) can expect to get anywhere is a single entry, 2 month extendable. And if that pisses you off, ask the next TECO salesman you meet if he thinks Australia should support the US in a conflict with China over Taiwan. Yep, the Taiwanese are willing to fight to the very last Australian over this little patch of dirt in the Pacific, and they wont even give us a decent visa!

Yesterday Bangkok TECO issued a 60 day extendable visa for a CLI student. But they warned that the school’s reputation was bad and starting from next April they wouldn’t give visas to its students.

I got a 6 months visa at the end of September in Paris and I am studying at TLI. The office in Paris had no problem issuing it for TLI.