Release Letter


I would like to have more information on the “Release letter”.
I’m currently stuck in a contract, but have been given the opportunity to be released as the employer is thinking of changing the contract, and I have the choice to accept or decline this new contract.
I would like to take her up on the offer and decline, as I am planning to move to Taipei.
My questions in particular are:

  1. Would I be able to work legally for another school without this release letter?
  2. Can my ARC be transferred to another school? With or without the release letter?
  3. Is it true that you can not apply for another ARC untill your current has expired?
  4. And basically, what are my options?

Thank you in advance. Keep up this great site. – Werner


RE: “Release Letter” required by bushiban in order to change jobs or take up a new job.

Looking at the Employment Services Act and other relevant statutes, we do not see any requirement of a “Release Letter”, so it appears that this is an additional stipulation promulgated by the local Departments of Education of the City (or County) Governments.

Of note is my impression that there is very little, or any, coordination between the Departments of Education of the Chiayi County Government, Pingtung City Government, Kaohsiung County Goverment, etc. and the Taipei City Government. Therefore, if you present yourself as a “new employee” in Taipei, and have an employer there apply for your Work Permit, there should not be any complications due to your status vis-a-vis a “Release Letter” in some other County or City government office.

I don’t think that you should look at your entire plan as an attempt to “transfer” your Work Permit (and ARC) to a new location, especially since your original employer is remaining in business. (It would be a different situation if you were working in a blue collar job, in a factory for example, and your employer was declaring bankruptcy, but your contract had not yet expired.) The simplest way is just to present yourself as a new employee.

More specifically, I suggest that you get all your paperwork together, help your new employer apply for the Work Permit, and then quickly terminate your relationship with your original employer. I get the impression that you would like to leave there anyway.


Employment Services Act. Promulgated on May 8, 1992

Chapter 5
The Recruitment and Supervision of Foreign Persons

Article 50

“Any employed foreign person who needs to change his employer or work within the permitted duration must request the original employer to apply jointly with the prospective new employer for permission to change.”

So, if the contract has expired, there is no stipulation that such a Release Letter needs to be provided … not in the ESA anyway.


What “taiwan teacher” John has pointed out here is certainly true if you are trying to transfer employers during the period of your original employment contract.

However, there is no reason to interpret this Article to say that you need any sort of special permission, or Release Letter, if your original employment contract has simply expired and you are seeking new employment elsewhere.

At any rate, it is necessary that all people involved in our discussion Forums actively contribute to the overall knowledge pool. If anyone feels that the so-called Release Letter stipulation is causing them problems, please ask the departments in charge for a specific legal reference for this requirement, and/or inform us of where we can view this “regulation” (and its legal basis) on the internet, or provide other detailed references.

[Moderator’s Note: As of 03-24-2002, no one has provided any copies of the relevant legal references or regulations. Hence, it would appear that no one is seriously interested in moving forward with the agenda of trying to solve this problem.]


I have changed white collar jobs (not a teaching job) and each time a Release Letter from the former employer was required. However, I am also unaware of any strict legal requirement in this regard. In retrospect, it seems to be just another way to keep foreigners out of the job market and/or labor pool.

I agree with Richard, its is unlikely that there is any coordination between various agencies, especially between local (as opposed to central gov’t) agencies in different jurisdictions.

However, given that the position is English teaching, the most relevant agencies are clearly the local Departments of Education at the City/County level. To my knowledge, the Ministry of Education doesn’t get involved in the issuance of work permits except for those teaching in national universities/colleges.

Regardless of whether a Release Letter is a legal requirement under relevant laws/regulations, or is a requirement that a particular case examiner “feels” is necessary to impose even though there is no legal basis (and as we know, such can often be the case with bureaucrats in Taiwan), an important message here should be the importance of leaving on good terms.

That is to say, if bad blood develops, the former employer could make life difficult with a couple of phone calls and accusations to the Ministry of Education, the Foreign Affairs Police, etc. Unfortunately, we have heard such stories before.

Of course, if the foreign community wants to challenge this “Release Letter” requirement, someone needs to step forward and file the relevant lawsuit. Maybe Richard can provide some additional assistance in that regard.