Question about teaching English


Hello! :raising_hand_woman:

I have a rather unique circumstance that I would like to get some clarity on before pursuing moving to Taiwan. Hopefully someone here has some advice.

Currently, I live in Los Angeles and was born in the US.

I have a 14 year old son. My son’s father (who was born in Taiwan and who I am NOT currently married to) and I are having some serious problems with our son that require removing him from this environment. We feel that moving to Taiwan would be beneficial to our family.

Obviously, my son and his father would be able to enter the country with no problems. I would also like to come along and teach English.

The way I see it, I have two options. My son’s father did offer to get married, so I could enter Taiwan as a Citizen, but wouldn’t that set me up for less pay? I could also obviously enter as a US Citizen and probably fairly easily get a job teaching English with foreigner pay (or so I’ve heard) since I am light-skinned with green eyes and English is my native language. Would the higher pay justify all the red tape I’d have to deal with in terms of work visas and such? I’m not worried about food or a place to stay or anything like that, as the family in Taiwan has already welcomed me with open arms.

If you were me, what would you do? One thing I’d like to mention is that we’d like to make this move ASAP - within 6 months or less.



Well, it gets rather complicated if you want to get married/re-married:

  1. where would you get married? In U.S. or Taiwan? Either way, you’ll have to get a lot of documentation for both avenues for the authorities in the U.S. (to get married there) or in Taiwan (to get married there). Don’t even want to offer the process. Kind of complicated, but obviously doable. Search this forum for the details. And, you would NOT enter as a “Citizen”. You could eventually get citizenship, but you don’t automatically get it just by suddenly marrying the father of your son.
  2. Getting married allows you to get a spousal visa on your ARC (sort of like a greencard, but not the same) in Taiwan, which allows you to work anywhere in Taiwan without an official work permit offered by an employer. Thus, you can try and find any kind of job (not just teaching English; can even work at 7-11).
  3. If you have ARC for 5 years and worked for five years in Taiwan, then I believe you can get APRC, which would allow you to stay permanently. There is a thread on APRC elsewhere in this forum.

If you do NOT want to marry, yet find a teaching job in Taiwan from overseas:

  1. then that company will provide the work permit that gives you the ARC to live in Taiwan.
  2. Kind of the easier route in terms of not having to deal with the documentation for getting married (though you still need an FBI background check), but you have to always rely on some firm/school to give you a work permit so that your ARC stays up-to-date

As for difference in pay. Don’t know, others may chip in. However, I do not think there is any “foreigner pay” due to being Caucasian or any lesser pay if you have an ARC that lists you under “spousal visa” (married to local). You just may find it easier to be hired by a school given your appearance. Others may chip in on this.

No matter which route you take, both have lots of red tape, but the marriage route certainly has a lot more (I know. I had to do it years ago when I got married in Taiwan).

Moreover, you could just “land in Taiwan” in 6 months and look for an English teaching job on the ground OR even begin the planning to get married in Taiwan at that time.

Now, for the child. Have you thought about what schools to put him into?
Can he speak Chinese?
Lots of potential issues there.

I probably should not offer any opinion (others may) on what you should do, because the step towards marriage involves all kinds of other issues unrelated to why you are coming to Taiwan.

Fire away if you have other questions.



…and so that you’re not working illegally, which can get you deported. :police_car:

Also, to get a normal work permit you need either a degree or a teaching certificate that the Workforce Development Agency finds acceptable. With a marriage-based ARC (search for “what exactly is a JFRV” if you want a technical explanation), you don’t need a work permit.

An FBI check is needed if you want to work in a buxiban (under education law, not labor or immigration law), regardless of whether you have a work permit or a marriage-based ARC.

As for difference in pay. Don’t know, others may chip in. However, I do not think there is any “foreigner pay” due to being Caucasian or any lesser pay if you have an ARC that lists you under “spousal visa” (married to local). You just may find it easier to be hired by a school given your appearance. Others may chip in on this.

Buxiban teachers are subject to the Labor Standards Act and therefore subject to the Basic Wage, so your minimum wage would be NT $140/h or $22,000/m full-time (but buxiban teachers generally don’t do standard “full-time” hours, and with a normal work permit your maximum “teaching-related” hours are 32/w instead of the standard 40).

Racial discrimination in hiring is prohibited, but… if you search for other threads on the topic, you will see what non-whites are up against. Typical “foreign teacher” wages are around $600/h or higher.



Thank you for your response! It was really helpful!

The only reason we would get married would be out of convenience – not because we want to be married. I was looking into HESS and it looks like they require TEFL Certification since I only have an A.S. Degree. I have Apple technician and server admin certifications, but those are irrelevant to teaching.

Maybe I should just go there on a tourist visa and try to get lucky with some other buxiban and/or study for my TEFL, and then apply at HESS? Do you know if HESS makes exceptions to the Associate’s Degree/TEFL rule? Or maybe there is some other job that would be a better fit for me that utilizes my English skills? I have no idea…

Right now I am still in shock regarding the behavior of my son and want to reunite him with a part of the family that will be able to help him – that is my main priority at this point. I don’t particularly like the idea of leaving the job I have here as a Marketing and IT Director, but I feel the sacrifice is necessary for the healing and development of my son during this stage of his life.

My son does not speak Mandarin, but I briefly looked into it and saw that there are some English-speaking international schools we can enroll him in. Perhaps I should start a new thread seeking advice about this? I am ready and willing to spend the money to put him into one of these schools.



Yes, I noticed that bit about the teaching certificate while researching HESS and other buxibans today.



Don’t know why you’d get married if you don’t love the guy. Seems like you’d be sacrificing a lot for a change in your son’s environment. You’d also be entering into a tricky legal situation if you have a fallout with your son’s Dad and then decide you want to leave again in a year. Maybe he decides he doesn’t want his son to come back with you? You could just go to Taiwan on a regular ARC and hope your husband is cool with you living together under the same roof. But that also has some risks.

Lol there’s no such thing as “foreigner pay” despite what you may have heard in the Taiwanese media. Teachers get paid more than laborers, that is true. The teaching salary here is pretty good by local standards (about 2-3 thousand USD a month depending on the school or job), but still not great by international standards.

Getting a teaching position with just an A.D. may be difficult. Do you have any experience?



It’s a complicated situation that I don’t want to go into details about, but I am not at all worried about a fallout with him or about him keeping our son there. We have been raising our son together for almost 15 years through the good and the bad. We only mention the marriage thing because it is another viable option to consider.

No, I don’t have teaching experience.



In that case, good luck to you.

Lack of teaching experience plus no bachelor’s may be an issue. Just being realistic.



Are you a teacher in Taiwan?

If I were to get TEFL Certification, wouldn’t my A.S. Degree be sufficient for HESS and similar places? I think I read that on their website.



I do not know about HESS. Hopefully others can chime in (like DrewCutz above). There are many threads elsewhere on this forum about people just arriving in Taiwan in the same way and searching for a job. You get a 90-day landing visa when you arrive. Do a search about your specific education level’s situation and if others made it work.
Worst-case, you just keeping flying cheaply to/from HK. Sounds like you’ll have a place to stay with your son’s Taiwanese relatives, which will help out.

There are a few English-speaking international schools, yes, but tuition is VERY expensive (TAS, TES, etc.), and you may have to consider if whatever behavior your son is now showing may be exhibited in those schools, too. In which case, it would be a big waste of money (and family reputation, if your son happens to be kicked out for whatever reason).

You could always consider home-schooling him in Taiwan, which is allowable, if you do not find a job, but instead just enter/leave Taiwan every 90 days.



I’m a university teacher. My situation and requirements were a bit different from those applying for a Buxiban or HESS. Others are more qualified to answer about what HESS requires. TEFL cert would definitely help!

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Don’t you try to find a job related to your current profession? Without a degree, it is not easy, but if you have enough experience and now hold a decent position now, it may not be impossible. Can’t you get a help from the family in Taiwan to look for that kind of job?

If I were you, I prefer a work-based ARC, rather than a marriage-based ARC in your situation. If you don’t need to worry about a living expense, repeating 90day visa-exempt stay with visa runs could be a reasonable option, but it would make finding a marketing and IT job harder.



I don’t speak any Mandarin. Literally zero. I assume that would make finding a job related to what I do now nearly impossible…correct me if I’m wrong.



I really don’t think he would exhibit behavior that would get him kicked out of a school, but it is something I’ve been mulling over and will carefully consider as we monitor his progress here pre-move. Home schooling is definitely something we are considering if the schools end up being too expensive or if he changes somehow. There was one school I saw today that is around $10k USD per school year and that’s not too horrible because I would have a lot of help from family.

The immersion and cultural experience would be very valuable to him. He’s actually a good kid, but has too many bad influences here and is becoming too narrow-minded. With some consistent, loving guidance from his father and myself as well as multiple family members and friends I think he’ll be able to pull through this as a stronger, happier person who has a better idea of how the world works. Sometimes tough love is what is required.



If I’m not wrong, many IT companies don’t expect you speak Mandarin.



:hushed: :astonished: :scream:

Please, please, can we all agree to call it a visa exemption or visa-free entry? :praying:

A landing visa is something else.

(Btw you can also get a 180 day visitor visa in advance.)

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That has been reported. What type of degree and/or certificate you need is up to the WDA, but if an employer has experience obtaining work permits, it should also know.



Sure, no worries.
Here’s what AIT says on visas to Taiwan (OP can consider trying for a 5-year visa at the TECRO office in LA):

U.S. citizens seeking entry as tourists or visitors are required to present a valid passport that will remain valid for the period of intended stay. You must also possess a confirmed return or onward air ticket. As a U.S. passport holder, you will be allowed to enter Taiwan without a visa for up to ninety days if your passport is valid for more than 90 days. If your passport has less than 90 days of validity remaining, you will be able to enter Taiwan for a time equal to the expiration date of your passport. No extensions or changes of status are permitted. Taiwan authorities can deny a visitor entry if they do not have the appropriate travel documents for their onward destination. You also have the option of applying for and receiving a Taiwan visa prior to arrival in Taiwan. The cost including the processing fee is US $164.00.

Please contact the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the U.S. for the most current visa information:

Visitor’s Visa: This visa must be obtained at a Taiwan representative office or an ROC embassy abroad. It is usually valid for five years, allows multiple entries for stays of up to 60 days. Normally one 60-day extension may be granted by the Taiwan National Immigration Agency for a total stay of 180 days. A visitor’s visa is appropriate for travelers coming to Taiwan for tourism, business or study. If you wish to work you will have to get a work permit and a resident visa.

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If I were in your position I would definitely get married. You’ve been already together for 15 years - so why not take advantage of the legal benefits marriage offers? Should it end up in an acrimonious divorce within 5 years, and bear in mind that your relationship could go the same way even if you don’t marry, then you can change the sponsor of your ARC from your ex-husband to your son. If you remain married for 5 or more years then you should be able to get an APRC provided your income has been high enough (and it will be with open work rights unless you are very lazy).

This avoids the need to get a TEFL qualification should you choose to teach, and will allow you much greater flexibility in the labour market. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

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i agree with that, even if you’re not convinced about the concept of marriage. the reality is, marriage has a lot of legal benefits.

i’m sure u thought about ur situation for any possible outcome. but moving to taiwan is a really big step, probably even more for u than for the kid. have u considered moving within the us maybe to a more suitable place rather than just leaving ur whole life behind and start something uncertain in taiwan?

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