Question about best way to break contract before it starts?


So I made a big mistake. Landed in Taiwan and had an interview a couple days later, I was offered the position immediately after the demo and told I needed to sign the contract in 24 hours or the offer will expire. I am on a 90 day tourist visa. The school is in the process of applying for the ARC for me, I’ve done the health check but my FBI background check has not been completed. So I do not have an ARC. I stupidly signed a 1 1/2 contract. Now that the adrenaline has worn off of arriving in a new country and getting a position, I realize the mistake I made an what I’ve gotten into. Since I have not started there is no pay to be withheld. What possible penalties could I face? Could they sue me? Will I have to leave the country immediately? I am fine if I am blacklisted from getting a work permit. I am going back home in June (within the 90 days) for a wedding. Will I be able to return and get another tourist/landing visa? Although expensive and inefficient could I keep leaving Taiwan before the 90 day is up and keep coming back? I have 2 online teaching jobs so I have an income and don’t technically need an ARC? I realize I didn’t do my research fully before coming here and it seems the school was really desperate for a teacher which is why the contract was rushed. In sum, if I communicate with the school, I’m even willing to work the ones months notice but what are the penalties for breaking a contract? Can I stay in the country without an ARC if I’m teaching online and leave back home or to another country every 90 days? The school is Korrnell if that matters at all. Contract states one months salary so 73,000 is penalty for early termination. They started process for ARC but they said it takes about 30 days and it’s literally been one. Anyone with similar experience or information would be great. Thank you


To stay here legally, you need an ARC and a work permit for the job, or you should not do the online job.

You can, but it is illegal.

If you cannot provide the FBI check, school cannot get a work permit for you.


Does the contract specify a breach penalty? Even if it does, (1) they would need to go to the trouble of suing you for it, (2) the court could reduce the amount to less than what they would spend on a lawyer, and (3) they wouldn’t necessarily win, because maybe they did something improper like promising you the work permit and ARC would arrive sooner.


Yes, the contract does specify


  1. If The School or The Employee wishes to terminate The Agreement prior to the termination date as set forth in Part 1 of The Agreement, the notice must be given not less than ONE CALENDER MONTH to the other party.
  2. Contract Termination If The Employee desires to terminate The Agreement prior
    to the aforementioned termination date, The Employee shall forfeit the amount of compensation equivalent to his/her one month’s salary plus waive all the above mentioned Bonus. If notice of termination of contract is given by The Employee less than 4(four) weeks before The Employee’s contract termination date, an additional penalty of $4,000NT for every week less than 4(four) weeks will be deducted immediately and shown on The Employee’s last salary. Discretion will be used before enforcing this rule, depending on the unique circumstances of the situation.

That is directly from the contract so if I give notice now would I basically be working one month for free??

Thank you both for your replies much appreciated


Iirc, deduction of penalty from a salary is illegal, and the penalty should be reasonable. So, whether the part of the contract is valid or not may be an issue. Though, the contract seems to be saying you should work for one month for free. To make this happen, they should get a work permit for you at first. Otherwise, you cannot start working even if you are willing to work and pay the month’s salary as a penalty. When is the starting date of your contract, the date you should start working?


I interviewed on Thursday was told to come in for “training” on Friday and to sign the contract and the start date is Monday (tomorrow). They were desperate for a teacher and have been using long term subs. I have not completed the ARC process, specifically the new requirements for the FBI background check so no ARC has been issued. They told me straight out until that is complete I would be paid in cash. I’m honestly willing to work for a month for free since it was my mistake in being hastey and signing something without thinking it through and not fully understanding. If that is the only penalty I am more or less okay but I was worried I would have to leave the country within 15 days or once I leave would be unable to return, not to teach, just in general


I have had the online jobs prior to coming to Taiwan they are not Taiwanese companies and I’m paid in USD. So would I still need the ARC?
I don’t plan to work other jobs in Taiwan…


Legally you need a work permit to work in Taiwan, regardless of whether the companies and customers are based in Taiwan or elsewhere.


Thank you that is good information!


you should tell them you will never work until your work permit is issued, because it is illegal to work without it. Then, they will break the contract. You don’t need to tell them you want to break the contract. Just refuse to work illegally. They cannot do anything legally against that.

No need to worry about this. Without a FBI document to apply for your work permit, which is needed to apply for your ARC, no action has yet been taken by the school. You are still on your visa exempt entry or visitor visa if you have it. There exists no ARC nor even application to be canceled yet.


Thank you!! Additionally, I would be teaching in a kindergarten which I heard is also illegal should I mention this as well or simply that I will not work illegally.


Short answer: yes.

Feel free to share the name of this outfit. I’m curious to see if it’s the one I’ve read so much about in the court records. :slight_smile:


Name stated above :slight_smile:


That’s what I get for speed reading. :oops:

The school is Korrnell if that matters at all.

Okay, not the one I was thinking of.


Oh FFS. I had to pay Kornell a little visit last time I was in Taiwan, in January. Refusal to release legal documents to a teacher. Sheesh. Mr. Director and I had a nice little chat about how all his work permits for kindy and below were illegal. Didn’t bother him in the slightest. They have good relationships with the local gov and the only one who will get burned in the end is you.


So, just don’t show up. Change your SIM card to another number to avoid harassment.

Give good old Mr. Su (isn’t that his name) my email (PM me) if he gives you any shit. I’ll be happy to speak to him again about, we had such a pleasant chat the last time before he coughed up the documents.


At the risk of upsetting the groupthink applecart, why are Kornell the bad guys in this situation? They’ve offered the OP a job and s/he is trying to renege on it. I’m more than happy to join in and grab a pitchfork and storm the place, just unclear at the moment exactly why. Is it because Kornell were offering a kindy job?


Have you given any thought to your employer ? I assume you are an adult, and legally capable of entering in to contracts by yourself(e.g you do not need your moms approval), so why are you now reneging ? Has some information surfaced that was hidden from you prior to entering the contract ? Did the other party act in bad faith? Or what is the issue here?

Based on your post it seems to me like you just changed your mind, which in itself I guess a lot of people do on a number of things. But, most people will take in to consideration that they in fact did enter a binding contract.

You will probably be causing financial harm to the other party, have you factored this in ?

Sorry, but my advice to you is to think next time a bit more before making promises.


The issue for me is the contract is violation against taiwanese laws. The school knows well that it is illegal make teachers to work without their work permits. Teachers must know it too, though. Both parties signed the contract doesn’t make the illegal condition of the contract valid.


I can’t think of anything I’ve ever observed or heard of Kornell doing that wasn’t in bad faith, since it’s illegal to offer these jobs to most of the people they offer them to. And to have teachers teach before ARCs and work permits arrive. And to have teachers do “demos”. And to withhold pay. And to withhold tax documents.

In most places, contracts that are against the law of the land are not enforceable.