Possibility of Deportation Subbing

I work for a reputable and large chain school in Taichung (would rather not be specific). I was recently asked by my boss to sub at another one of the branches for the same chain, relatively close to my school. I thought nothing of subbing at this branch because it is considered the main branch, and all of the processing for my ARC was done here and the woman in charge of foreigner’s ARC/Work Permit’s is the lady residing over this main branch. Anyway, I was only asked to sub one class, then return to my main branch to finish a regular evening. However, my ARC is only registered to the branch which I permanently work, not the branch which I was asked to sub at. Also, my school does not have a kindergarten or pre-school program, just a normal buxiban, because I DID have prior knowledge that teaching kindy is illegal and chose not to do so.

To make a long story longer: I arrived early that day, and shortly after I arrived and sat at the desk in the reception area, a lone official appeared and scoped me out – later asking to take a look at my ARC. I obliged because I was currently sitting at a desk and there were no classes in session at the time. To my knowledge (and after pressing the lady about the issue) I was told he did not write down any information in reference to my ARC, did not copy it, and did not seem to care. He did, however, take a copy of the ARC of a permanent teacher who works full time at that particular branch. Again, and according to her, she admitted to him that I was there to sub only one class, but she said he was nice and said although it was not technically allowed that he was not going to make an issue of it. I had no prior knowledge that it was illegal to work for the same company, under the same owner, in the same city–but I did have an uneasy feeling about this situation, so I politely had the ARC/Work Permit lady ask the man if it was in fact OK if I was to go into the classroom and sub that particular class, or should I head back to my original branch and forget about it. The man agreed and said that it was OK, so I proceeded into the classroom. After I walked into the classroom he disappeared and my ARC was handed to me and I was told, “don’t worry it’s just a routine thing and it’s not a big deal this has happened many times before.”

In conclusion, this incident sparked me to find these forums and read many of the deportation threads. Although many were as old as 2005, I’m sure most of the same regulations (or lack thereof) still apply today. I did not and was not asked to sign anything. No photos were taken to my knowledge, and the lady in charge denies any photos were taken or that any of my personal information was submitted to the man, besides a brief glance at my ARC. I was never officially questioned myself, I just sat quietly at the same desk while he talked to the ARC/Work Permit lady. It was only one official/inspector and it was before normal teaching hours (which I wouldn’t consider a raid, but then again I don’t really know much about this shit). By all logical means, I asked him if I was doing something wrong before I went into the classroom and he told me it was OK. I just have a lot of ties here and was considering building a longer future here, so this event has left me stressed out to the max. Should I be overly concerned, or take any sort of preemptive action, or should I just let the situation fade in hopes that I never receive that letter in the mail? I have been assured and reassured (although I don’t feel much better) that no information was taken pertaining to me, no warnings were given to the school, and that this situation has happened before and it’s nothing to fear. Should I be legitimately worried, or just chill out?

How do you know the man was an official inspector? Did he provide any identification to you?

You were in the reception area not in the classroom. So probably nothing to get worked up about.

But the next time you employer wants you to sub elsewhere, get them to add the address to your ARC first.

I’d say you needn’t worry about that particular incident. From the sounds of it, your visit is similar to one I experienced a few years ago. An official came to my class along with my boss, who explained he was only there to see that the foreign teacher registered to that particular school was, in fact, teaching at that school.He produced a clipboard that had a list of teachers’ names on it and asked me to sign in the space beside my name. He then took a copy of my ARC to prove he’d located me that day and that I was, essentially, where I was supposed to be. He apologized for delaying my class and left. Sounds like the official at your school was more interested in locating the foreigners registered to that particular branch than one visiting from another branch. Not every visit is a raid. Sometimes they are simply audits. He may have been able to cause you trouble, though I’m not certain very much. In the only case I’ve ever heard of where someone got in trouble for working for a different branch of the same company, the foreigner was detained briefly, but allowed to go soon after with no action taken. Anyway, I think you find out pretty quickly if you are in doo-doo.

Of course, it is up to you to decide what your comfort level is with this sort of thing. It is a bit of a grey area.

It’s certainly not a particularly comforting experience, but if no negative repercussions arise, I will be sure to add the addresses of my other branches to my ARC. I have expressed my desire to not sub again unless the proper paperwork is confirmed. I have had an enjoyable experience at my school, although I don’t appreciate them having me sub somewhere, knowing it was illegal, but not taking a few brief moments to file the proper paperwork to protect me. I’ll hope for the best. If anyone has had a similar experience, feel free to tell me about it.

Just a brief update: the same man that came to check the branch I subbed one class in showed up a week later, at my normal work place, today. He told me he needed to speak with me, then said he was doing a simple audit to make sure foreigners were working in the places which supplied them with the ARC. He had a form and filled it out and told me it was a routine inspection. He asked me to verify my information on the form and then to sign it. I was wary of this, but there was not any Chinese on the form. It was all in English and a box was ticked which said “Normal” underneath “Results of Inspection”. I asked my boss to review the form before I signed it. She read the form and was also required to sign it and put the school’s official stamp on it. The inspection officer identified himself as a CLA official, and told me not to worry that it was simply a routine check of all the Taichung area schools, and did not mention seeing me at the other branch. My boss told me this was a normal thing which has occurred before, and they did not seem nervous to sign the paper or to see this man, whatsoever. Of course, I was freaking out because I felt like he was there specifically to cause trouble and I was very reluctant to sign anything he put before me. I wish I didn’t have this to worry about, but feeling insecure about your job and residency, and future potential employment ban in a country is a big issue. Was it a bad idea to sign that document? Has anyone else had any experiences with a CLA inspection visit? I’m just afraid now that I might be receiving my letter to leave the country soon.

Speaking of inspections, I have to say that it was funny that I was sitting in a restaurant with my Indonesian girlfriend one day when an immigration officer asked her to show her ID and her friend. He was looking for illegal Indonesians in Taiwan but he didn’t even bother to look at my ID!

well did you LOOK indonesian?

It doesn’t sound like anything to worry about, OP. In the unlikely event that it is, then you’ll find out in a few days when a letter arrives.

However, you ask about the possibility of taking ‘preemptive action’ if you get caught in an illegal working situation. As far as I’m aware there isn’t any (other than climbing out of a window and running before they get a photo and a signed confession). I’ve only ever heard of one person who got out of deportation when the school paid a massive fine and used significant guanxi to get her off the hook. Don’t ever believe the ‘It OK, no worry, everybody do it, you think too much’ line.

Don’t worry…it was just a routine inspection by the CLA officers…they came to my office twice…unannounced…once in 2007 and again in 2008…they are just conducting a “roll call” for all White Collar Workers to check if they are really working in the address as specified on their ARC…they also asked a couple of questions like…“Is your employer treating you well?”, “Do you like it here?” "Is your Salary really $xxxxx …etc…and in the end I had to sign the documents and put my company’s chop on it…they stopped over at my friend’s company as well…It’s just the CLA’s way of saying “We care” :wink: …btw, we are not English Teachers.

No worries they turned up at my place doing the same thing the other day in Taipei. Totally standard, though I’d never had it happen before. They swung by on Oct 27th, and said they try to come by every six months or so. I’ve not seen anything from them since, so I’d say you’re fine.

Are there any reputable chain schools in Taichung?

Read my post, just above yours. Your inspection experience was virtually identical to the one I wrote about in my post. It’s totally normal. Don’t worry; you are legal. If they were going to do anything about the subbing, they would have at the time.

Thanks for all the replies. I am just a bit ignorant to the procedure of an inspection since I have never witnessed nor talked directly to a person who has been a part of one; so I just wanted to have some feedback to see if what I went through was unusual or just standard procedure. I have read horror stories about people being lied to and tricked, so it sparked a bit of worry for me. Anyway, I’ll try to forget about it now, seeing all the positive replies. And yeah, my chain school is reputable – as much as a chain school in Taiwan can be, haha.

I also had an inspection last week at a 2nd branch that I work at. I had been a little suspicious that my school wasn’t up to par since my first paycheck there was made in cash (no paper trail). But my name was on her paper and everything was done quickly. She was interested that I only worked 1 day a week there and only got 2 hours. But it’s a new branch that only has 2 classes.