SA citizen's getting a hard time



I’m going to try and keep this cordial , to the point and professional. That won’t be easy as I’m feeling somewhat “mei li mao” at the moment. Nevertheless, I’ll try not to use this as the place to vent my spleen at the ineptitude of the powers that be that have butchered my schedule and budget for the last month and the foreseeable future.

What I want to know is: has anyone had any similar experiences or know the reasons for the treatment that South Africans (I really hope its not only me) seem to be recieving at the moment? Is there some devious South African ring conniving to send terrible teachers to Taiwan and sabotage the spread of the English language in Taiwan? If so, please send me his name and address.

There seems to have been a decision taken in the dank halls of power that South Africans are no longer welcome in Taiwan and every effort should be made to root them out and send them back to darkest Africa where they belong (interminable rant deleted for brevity)…Every South African I know who has been trying to get an ARC has encountered obstacle after obstacle in what used to be the simple process of getting an ARC and work permit to teach English in Taiwan.

Example: South African, age 25, 2 degrees from a top SA university, 1 year already spent in Taiwan, decides after some deliberation that there probably is some meaningful teaching here for a self-respecting person considering a career in teaching. Eventually settles on a reputable institution and the proper channels (however murky and debris filled they may be), avoiding the devious backroutes available to anyone who wants to teach English here regardless of qualifications, teaching ability, or the ability to speak English.

PROCESS: 1. The only way to legally teach here (as far as I know) is to lie and say you are coming to visit - duly done: two months asked for, one month given

  1. Degree (original and certified copy sent to Ed. dept.). Wait.

  2. Visa expires. Visa run. Another month given.

  3. Papers returned without explanation. On phoning, the school is told I need to have the SA office in Taiwan confirm the authenticity of the degree and the institution.

  4. This is done with some effort and the help of my mother in SA, and the university -, through the liason office in Taiwan (read embassy). Papers resent to the Ed. department. Wait.

  5. Begin to worry as days to expiry of visa count down - begin phoning to clarify the status of my application.

  6. Papers returned to the school without explanation. Many phonecalls later the school is told that the official representative of SA in Taiwan is not competent to do this, and that I need the SA - Taipei liason office in South Africa to verify the documents.

  7. three days remain on my second visa

I love the work I am doing at the moment, I like Taiwan, and I actually care about teaching. Why am I being treated like a stray dog sniffing at around for an old bone?

What gives?
Anyone with answers, similar experiences


First-hand Scoop:

I am hiring teachers for several Taipei schools. Recently, we were handed a memo from the Dept. of Education that didn’t say we couldn’t hire South Africans, but said to “use great caution” in hiring South Africans because of the unusually high number of fake diplomas that have recently turned up among them. I’m afraid the source of all the trouble is the actions of a few bad eggs. We ourselves would like to hire some South Africans, but have run into various snags. The Chinese managers I work with don’t want to push these issues for fear of ruining relations at the Dep. of Edu., as we process a lot of ARC’s every year.

My advice is that you all have patience, go through the extra hassles step by step, and show that the majority of South Africans are indeed honest and professional, and this situation will eventually pass. Those of us who have been here a while know that these kinds of situations are usually temporary.

I do sympathize with you all.

Best of Luck.


Do you think it is because South Africa was one of the most recent countries to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC. I heard that Taiwan invested a lot of money in South Africa and also somewhat alientated themselves during the apartheid era supporting South Africa only to be rewarded by a diplomatic switch. Also, could it be that South African’s accent is not the preferred accent that Taiwanese parents want their children to speak? Finally, could it be that there is not much understanding of South AFRICA by some people who think it is a backwards poor African country when in fact we all know it is not.


Well, better news this time

Thanks to the Herculean efforts of my employers, I have somehow managed to have my 30 day visitor visa extended by a month by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a cost of $800 (better than a trip to HK!), after showing them a letter written by a friendly and helpful person in the Ministry of Education explaining that my work permit was in the process of being processed and the delays were no fault of mine or the school.

To Hobart:

No, I don’t think it has anything to do with diplomatic recognition. (That happened in 1995 I think and its hardly a surprise since over half of the ruling ANC party’s parlimentarians are also memebers of the communist party; that and SA sells heaps of cars to China). Accents vary among South Africans depending on region, whether English or Afrikaans is their native language etc.

It’s only recently that South African’s have begun picking up visa problems - last year mine sailed through with nothing more than a copy of my degree stamped by the police in South Africa. The problem is that there do seem to be some fake documents flying about - though I hardly think SAans have a monopoly on the fake document market.

If you are South African, and planning to apply for a visa, I recommend you get all your ducks in a row and don’t even bother trying to take a chance if you don’t meet the requirements.


Ok, I note that my previous reply to this topic as well as my profile and user name etc were deleted. So maybe I was abit harsh … in that case I apologise to who ever it matters.

Kevin, could you contact me please. I need advice from you as to the exact route to go through with autheticating a degree through the Taipei liason office in SA as well as other minor things one should know and do to make this procedure painless.Contact me at Thank you.