Question about best way to break contract before it starts?


It’s tricky. Has anyone on this site not broken the first two of those illegalities when they first started teaching in Taiwan? You’re correct that Kornell have, as standard with all buxibans, broken the law of the land in their contract. I’m not sure how to go forward with advising the OP how to break the contract s/he signed and do online teaching without a work permit.


This should be obvious (e.g. no need to be condescending).

The issue I didn’t do my research enough before accepting the position. Fully admitting that. I arrived on Taiwan on a Monday, interviewed with them on Thursday and signed the contract the following day. The director even told me they usually give people 3 days to review the contract but mine would expire if I didn’t sign the following day. As stated, over 20 foreign left over the last 2 years… Do a quick search of Korrnell if you are curious why so many have an “issue” with them. Their practices are shady, especially when it comes to pay. Since signing I have talked to several who have worked for them or know others that have - Jhubei is small. Rating teachers 1 point lower on evaluations as to avoid paying bonuses, sneakily paying 1000NT less here or there on paystubs, refusal to give bonuses at end of contract term for arbitrary reasons. Their turnover rate is insane (I know it’s high for this field) but it’s a direct correlation to poor management, shady business practices, and for profit model that doesn’t focus on quality education. Yes, I changed my mind, after realizing this “teaching” position at Korrnell is a joke. The parents pay Korrnell very good money to send their children there for a “quality” education and would be appalled if they really saw what was going on. Untrained teachers with no experience, was literally told by another teacher “here is the lesson plan but just do whatever you want.” When I tried to teach more the 2 pages out of the book, thats right TWO the co-teacher told me “they are tired, just relax, sing a song or something.” I have a Masters degree in education, have taught ESL for many years, and cannot even count how long I have been working with children. I am well aware this would be different than anything in the states, but this a joke. I have absolutely taken into consideration that I signed a binding contract, which is why i’m looking into my options as to not endure 1.5 years at this place.

There is no financial harm to the other party to be factored. I paid my own 200NT for the fingerprints and my own 1500NT for the health check which I will be out. I’m offering to give one month’s notice and forfeit my monthly 73,000NT salary. They are not sponsoring my work permit, haven’t paid any taxes or NHI. There was ZERO hours of training provided. They will hire just about anyone, as long as you are native English speaker with a degree and there is no shortage of people that fit those requirements looking for employment. So please tell me what financial harm is being caused to them?


Thank you for your response and you are not the first, second, or third person i’ve talked to over the past 3 days that was had negative experiences with Mr. Su himself. I will indeed PM you. I am heading to the Taipei city hall tomorrow to consult.
I am curious how I would get burned? Beside from financially possibly working without pay, I am honestly willing to eat that as it was my mistake if that’s the only way. I just want to make sure no trouble with the government.
The way I understand it, if an employee breaches contract the school can contract the gov’t/immigration cancel work permit which then affects ARC. However, no ARC has been applied for or issued so there is nothing to cancel and that wouldn’t be an issue in my case? I have literally been in Taiwan only a week so still under visa-exempt status. I will be leaving back to the states in June for wedding, I want to be sure I can return to Taiwan. I am fine being “blacklisted” from “teaching” jobs after what i’ve seen just don’t want to be blacklisted from the country haha.


I’m fully taking responsibility for this predicament I found myself in. Don’t need any pitchforks (although that would make for dramatic effect upon exit!) and i’m not saying they’re the bad guys. They certainly didn’t hold a gun to my head and make me sign anything. I should have done my due diligence before rushing into signing. Now having said that, I am just trying to figure out if I am sh** out of luck or if there are any options. I truly wasn’t aware you could be deported for working at a kindy. I presumed something was a little off when he told me they’d paying me in cash before my work permit arrived. This seems par for the course for them and the gov’t must not have too much of an issue with them for employing a bunch of “Teachers” at a kindy and having them all work immediately upon hire without work permit. In fact I was even told by a former teacher that cops and gov’t official send their kids there so recourse is minimal. Now that i’ve done all this research after the fact just seeing if anyone had been in a similar situation and successfully (or unsuccessfully) gotten out it.


You know, I really hate to open a new can of “You Just Don’t Understand Taiwanese Culture”, but that’s what’s going on here.


I meant you would be the one on the hook if you continued working there and they were raided or something like that. The school would walk away without any penalty, or a slap on the wrist if anyone even bothered.


I’m sure you have no issue with government, if you break the contract. You may be blacklisted from the school, but it should be nothing else.

If you leave now, I don’t think you will have any problems. If you work for the school one month, you could be deported and banned. Someone could report to immigration that you are working illegally without a work permit.

Ministry of Labor might be a place you can visit to consult.


Work till your payday and never go back there.
What’s your problem really?


I wouldn’t even bother contacting the government. Nothing bad will happen to the school or the famous Mr. Su, and there is always a minute chance that showing up will put the OP on someone’s radar. I would simply send an email that she has been advised that the contracted position is illegal and therefore the contract is void, or better, claim a “family emergency” and avoid the whole issue.


You don’t “renege” on an invalid contract. You ignore it.

Has some information surfaced that was hidden from you prior to entering the contract ? Did the other party act in bad faith?

Yes and yes. See above.

But, most people will take in to consideration that they in fact did enter a binding contract.

No. See above.

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

“Stick 'em up! Now hand over your wallet. If you don’t, I’ll sue!” :wall:

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

Good advice in general. :slight_smile: :+1:


Not sure exactly how the recruitment process works in Taiwan, but speaking from experience in Hong Kong this scenario would have caused the employer some money.

Had the employer already told the other candidates that they did not get picked this time? If he did, there is a real possibility the recruitment process must be restarted as none of the other candidates are any longer available.

First there would be the need to place a new ad online, and in hong kong this would have been done on jobsdb which cost perhaps 1000ntd/ad depending on which package you got there.

Then there is the need to organise new interviews, and the people doing the interviews do not work for free for the employer.

Lastly, perhaps the employer already had some work lined up for you, but that work won’t be done now. Perhaps in your case there were some new students he was considering taking as customers, but he needs to turn down the business because of this ?

In any case, you are causing the employer financial harm.


[raises tentacle]


A school looked for a teacher for an illegal work. A teacher once accepted to do that. The teacher, however, changed his/her mind and refused to do the illegal work. So, that illegal work won’t be done. Should the teacher factored the financial harm of the school in?

I don’t think so.

They are putting ads continuously, regardless the OP stays on not.


Save your energy, Morrie. The employer knows it’s breaking the law. Even if there were no work permit issue, the employer would still be breaking education law by having foreign language classes in a kindergarten. If there’s no kindergarten registration, then the violation consists of running an unregistered kindergarten.

Did you hear about Jumpstart?

They got caught running an unregistered kindergarten. They appealed to the Taipei Dept. of Education. They lost. They appealed to the High Administrative Court. They lost. They appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court. They lost so badly that the court didn’t even bother issuing a judgement (I’m not kidding).

We don’t have 100% of the facts in this case, and nothing anyone posts here should be taken as legal advice, but the pattern is familiar to those of us who know Taiwan’s EFL industry. Taiwan is not Hong Kong, and people do not have the same rights and responsibilities under the law.

If you really want something to get upset about, consider the $150,000 or so that OP would need to pay the government if caught working illegally, plus airfare and the inconvenience of being banned from Taiwan for five years (iirc). Would this poor, “harmed” businessman lift a finger to help the deportee?

Then there are the children. Would you trust a business that treats its staff as disposable to take good care of your kids?

Btw here’s the thread detailing Ironlady’s previous encounter with Kornell, for your reading pleasure. :slight_smile:

Spanish Surfer Stabbed by 'Fishermen' in Kenting

BTW, who are refusing to make it legal to teach English in kinder? Imo, the prohibition is just harming the society.


It would be up to the OP to decide if he factors the financial harm in or not, but in the previous post he said there was no financial harm. I am merely pointing out he is wrong, there is in fact a financial harm.


The rule is in the subsidiary regulations of the Early Childhood Education & Care Act, as explained in my very long post in “Work rules for foreign teachers” or whatever it was called. Iirc the MOE is responsible and can amend the regulations, but doing so without consulting other ministries would be a radical move.


It seems the OP is willing to forfeit one month salary, that is way more that the financial harm of the school s/he might have caused. I think if there is any financial harm, that is caused by the school’s poor recruitment procedure.


To be clear, @JillyBeam, if you have not taught any classes for Kornell, please don’t, and if you have, please stop immediately.

Being sued by Kornell is a far-fetched scenario. In the very unlikely event that it happens, you can obtain free advice from the Legal Aid Foundation (and possibly from lawyers at City Hall, though I’m not sure if they have that program in your locality).

They don’t like illegal foreign workers (other than victims of human trafficking), so the sooner you leave Kornell, the better.

The advice to work until your payday and then quit is problematic because (1) every second you spend with students in a classroom is a second the police could charge in and arrest you, and (2) there’s no guarantee you’ll get paid anyway, and no recourse if you don’t.

If I were in your position, I would write a polite letter clearly stating that I’m terminating the contract in accordance with Art. 14 of the Labor Standards Act because the employer is violating the law in a manner that causes fear of the worker’s rights and interests being harmed. For greater certainty, have someone write in in Chinese (I can do that if you provide more information like the employer’s official name in Chinese) and get the post office to deliver/keep it as a legal deposit letter.


During my initial training I raised the issue of work permits and the Director of Studies confidently informed me that while it was being processed it was legal for me to teach. He was a British guy at Shane English School.

I appreciate that even with my limited understanding of Taiwanese culture there is a considerable amount of caveat emptor here, but there is a limit to how much a person can double-check. Good on you for knowing the score, though. I would place money on you being very much in the minority.