Resident visa nonsense - what now?

(Sorry, another long one… actual questions in bold near the bottom)

I have just received approval to set up a representative office of my UK company from 經濟部. I took this and my other documents along to 外交部 (MOFA/BOCA?) with the intention to change my current multi-entry business visitor visa to resident visa + 3 year ARC.

I get to the visa section of 外交部 and when I see the gormless look of the lady about to serve me, my heart sinks. Still, we must soldier on. I explain what I want to do and she looks at my rep. office authorisation like it’s a piece of modern art involving poop and perspex. Oops, here we go, there’s a problem with my ‘副本’. Now, even though my Chinese isn’t the worst in the world, it’s not the best either, so I went through this with her a few times because I thought I’d misunderstood. At the bottom of the authorisation cover sheet it says, ‘副本: 財政部台灣省北區國稅局’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this says ‘CC: Ministry of Financial Affairs (?), Taiwan Province etc. etc.’?

So I contacted the 外交部 section manager and he called me back while I was on the MRT so I couldn’t catch half of what he said. Still, eventually I worked out he wanted me to go back to their office in ten minutes with my passport. Which I did. But the clerks refuse to accept my passport because I’m ‘not eligible for a resident visa’. Still being very very polite, I ask them to contact the section manager again and tell me the same thing by proxy. I call him back myself and he asks why I haven’t given them my passport yet (!!) Then he tells me to wait at counter 34, which I do, and in the meantime call my CPA who handled the rep. office application in the first place. A lady arrives at counter 34 waving a passport - a Canadian passport. ‘No, that’s not my passport. Are you going to take my passport?’ She replies that no, she isn’t, because I’m not eligible for a resident visa NNNNNggngnggg. I give up on this avenue and ask her what to do now. She tells me this is 經濟部’s job to give me the 副本. Doesn’t make sense to me since MOFA should be the ones to handle visas, but okay… I get a taxi to 經濟部 where a nice lady says I need to give them some kind of certificate that I have to make myself (?!) listing proof of the company’s activities in the UK.

Now my CPA gets back and tells me the application for a resident visa was rejected (err, but I never even got to the stage of filing one?) because the UK business is too small. However, nobody has ever asked me for any details about my business apart from share capitalisation, which in the UK at least is always set at a nominal GBP1,000 and means nothing about the company size. I know for a fact that several rep. offices have been set up recently with much smaller parent companies than mine, plus I see nothing in any of the relevant Taiwan laws about minimum capital for establishment of a rep. office.

[b]So how do I proceed?

  1. Does anyone know which office should REALLY handle this? If someone can confirm this I will go and camp there until they deal with me.

  2. Who is bullshitting me here? 經濟部? 外交部? Will I waste my time preparing a dossier for 經濟部 and should I just move somewhere sensible like Afghanistan instead?

  3. Has anyone else ever had this problem?[/b]

BTW, I felt insulted when it was suggested to me by the third person that I just get by on a visitor visa indefinitely. I’m sorry Taiwan, but I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to do this and willing to make more, but the one thing I refuse is to be treated like an idiot and try to do business in a country where I can’t a) get my own phone line, b) keep a cellphone longer than 6 months (thanks to new PAYG phone laws), c) drive or even buy a second hand vehicle, d) get a proper bank account, e) breathe loudly.

Urrghh!!!

Sorry, no advice, just commiserations. Hopefully though, this will be one of those, looks like it won’t proceed and then miraculously the skies clear thangs.

All the best.

HG

Cheers… if you knew what I’d gone through to get to this stage you’d know why my patience is thinner than MOFA’s toilet paper right now.

[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]Urrghh!!!

Sorry, no advice, just commiserations. Hopefully though, this will be one of those, looks like it won’t proceed and then miraculously the skies clear thangs.

All the best.

HG[/quote]

Ilary,

You probably need to talk to someone else who has played a similar game as yourself - i.e. set-up a small local rep office of their company back home. I’ll PM a couple of names that might be useful.

Weird… I got a letter today from the 財政部… I’m going back to MOFA now and we’ll see what happens.

Nope, as I thought, what MOFA were telling me was a load of bollocks. That had nothing to do with the visa application. I have to go back to 經濟部 with proof of a minimum one year contract between the UK company and at least one Taiwanese company. This policy is so short-sighted it needs an optician.

a) record labels and music companies work on a case-by-case basis, not fixed contracts - in fact, just how many b2b deals involve fixed term contracts at all?!
b) how are you supposed to have organised contracts with Taiwanese companies when that’s… the point… of setting up… a Taiwan rep office… in the first place?

Excuse me while I curl up in a ball and cry quietly in the corner for a few hours.

With the right guanxi this would have been sorted out over a nice cup of tea. Your problem was that they were shocked into action by having someone ask them to enforce/look up the rules. After a few attempts they will settle down and recover. Try going in with the most important Taiwanese person you know. And remember as with any government department here, if the answer you get doesn’t suit, or sounds iffy, just come in the next day and ask again and you will get a different answer. Repeat until the job is done. And NEVER give a bureaucrat more pieces of paper than he specifically asks for by name.

Well, some of us did try to warn you. But you barged ahead large and in charge. Taiwan does tend to put unsuspecting people into the fetal position.

Don’t worry llary, you’ll bounce back. Most everyone does.

The irony is that I reckon if I would have done the entire rep. office registration myself and not played the ‘safe option’ of getting a CPA to do it, I would have had my visa by now.

I’m not sure how I could do anything other than barge ahead :slight_smile: I need a resident visa… I’ve been in and out of MOEA and the London TRO for two years and ultimately what else can you do but apply if you actually want a resident visa?

I think I just need a good night’s sleep.

[quote=“Yellow Cartman”]Well, some of us did try to warn you. But you barged ahead large and in charge. Taiwan does tend to put unsuspecting people into the fetal position.

Don’t worry llary, you’ll bounce back. Most everyone does.[/quote]

I’m good friends with a MOEA representative - problem is he’s in the London office and I realised they have pretty much no authority back in Taiwan. Still, I’ve sent him an email to see if he can make a few phone calls on my behalf.

I should stress that at all times I’ve been very, VERY polite and I speak enough Chinese that we’ve dealt with everything in Mandarin. I haven’t shot myself in the foot (yet) by barging in with size twelves and announcing that as a member of the British Empire I demand satisfaction.

I visited the 經濟部 again today (sorry, don’t even know what the hell that is in English) and met with a woman who sat down with me for a good 2 hours to go through my options. She basically just pointed out stuff from their website I’ve seen a million times before, but I did get the impression that she felt sorry for me and genuinely wanted to help. Eventually we came to the conclusion that if I offered any contract whatsoever with a Taiwan company for at least a year they will definitely give me authorisation for a resident visa and ARC. When my Taiwanese friend comes back next week I’ll get him to sign a piece of paper demanding a three years’ supply of High Bogosity Bogons and hopefully we’ll be good to go. No matter how ridiculous I think this is, if waiting another two weeks means I don’t piss them off by being pushy then I can live with that.

PS - do you think it’d work if I went in with some Taiwanese pop stars?

You’re losing us. Well, you’re losing me, anyway.

In fact you are even losing yourself. 經濟部 = Ministry of Economic Affairs = MOEA = www.moea.gov.tw

Believe me, I lost it a long time ago.

CPA = Chartered Public Accountant (?)
TRO = Taipei [sic] Representative Office

Reminds me of the British satirist Chris Morris who used to get celebrities to support fake causes with stupid acronyms like HOECS GAMES and NONCE SENSE.

You’re losing us. Well, you’re losing me, anyway.

In fact you are even losing yourself. 經濟部 = Ministry of Economic Affairs = MOEA = www.moea.gov.tw[/quote]

Just when I was about to lose all hope with Taiwan, a girl I know at Formosa TV called me out of the blue. I helped her ages ago with some documentary about Hakka awareness and she heard of my plight through a mutual friend… anyway, the Hakka society she works for is willing to give me some kind of contract for audio-visual services so if they come good she’s saved my bacon.

I have to ask though - what about people who want to bring businesses here or invest in Taiwan but give up? What about people who don’t have friends or contacts high up enough? I know it’s a tired point, but Taiwan just can’t afford to throw away foreign investment through dodgy bureacracy.

Not that anyone cares, but I received my resident visa yesterday and can pick up my 3 year ARC on Monday. I’m very, very, very relieved. Once I got the contract it was all plain sailing. Big thanks to everyone who’s helped and supported me over the past year or so!

Congratulations! See, the guanxi worked! (The Taiwanese pop star thing would have worked a treat too!)

Hi, I followed your missery path here and am relieved you got all your papers now … good luck with the business :bravo: