Schools and guanxi

After lurking around on here for a while, I’m finally coming to Taiwan later this summer. Past posts have helped me figure out how to get set up. The thing that bothers me most is that I will probably have to break the law to get by at first by working while my ARC is being processed, teaching kindy, etc.

Of course there are people who say that one can and should work here without breaking any laws. This is a fine moral position but not practical for young people trying to scrape by for a while here to pick up some Chinese. So, I don’t mean to re-hash any philosophical debate, and I certainly don’t mean to offend.

I assume some schools (the big chains?) pay bribes or have certain guanxi connections to ensure they don’t get busted. I would think only the biggest schools can afford to bribe as part of a sustainable business model, or would have such connections.

In general, is there a certain kind of school that is much less likely to get busted for common illegal employment practices? Since brand name schools have many branches, am I right in thinking that some branches are more “safe” than others?

I know that foreigners pay the biggest personal price for ARC violations, but schools have to pay fines too, so it’s in their interest to avoid busts. I don’t mind doing illegal work. I’m willing to take the risks, but of course I also want to mitigate them. I doubt I’m the only one with this attitude.

Basically, does anyone know which kinds of schools–kinds that would hire American FOBs, anyway–have the most clout?

You would be wrong in assuming that.

Basically, does anyone know which kinds of schools–kinds that would hire American FOBs, anyway–have the most clout?[/quote]
It doesn’t really matter, as different schools in different locations are…well, different.

Larger schools process more ARCs and are more experienced at it, yet smaller school go thorugh the same process, and most are very good at it too.

If I were you, I’d spend more time thinking about how and where I wanted to live in Taiwan, than to focus on this important, yet somewhat minor thing that happens during your first month on the Rock.

Good luck!

One day when I was first starting at KOJEN, they got a phone call to say the police were on their way for an inspection. I didn’t have my ARC yet, so my classes were canceled and I was told to go home immediately. I’m certain I would not have gotten this particular job if I insisted on not working when my ARC was being processed.

Seriously, don’t worry about it that much. As long as you are working for a school that actually can offer you an ARC then you should be fine.

Yes, you could get deported for working while your work permit is getting processed. You could also get hit by a scooter. About the same odds, I think.

Working at a larger chain won’t mean anything. Even after getting my ARC at Hess (the largest chain on the island) I was asked to leave the school when inspections came. So, it won’t make a difference in my experience.

The important thing is that the school can hire you legally, even if they ask you to start working while you’re technically not legal yet.

It really depends on how much the OP has invested in working in Taiwan, doesn’t it?

Why not spend another two months in your home country, or just put on a few more economies in the meantime, and arrive in Taiwan with enough money to get set up and find a job without working illegally? I know it’s a radical idea, but obeying the law (particularly when the law comes with rather draconian consequences which will more than likely be applied one-sidedly with you getting the worst of it) is what adults do. You know the situation; do whatever you have to do to avoid being caught in it.

There is obviously a huge amount of debate about the work or don’t work before your ARC shows up question – just search for it. Hopefully it won’t be repeated here. If you plan to be in Taiwan for some time, and if you’re sacrificing financially or personally to get to Taiwan in the first place, or if your future goals depend on your time in Taiwan (savings, education, foreign experience, whatever), it’s not too smart to risk that for something “small”.

And actually you’re more likely to be hit by a scooter IMHO – but that’s a function of the poor quality of driving, not of the safety of working illegally. :smiley:

Thanks for responding, everyone. I think I’ll just take my chances. Seems like you guys are the experts on here.

jdsmith, you run your own school, no? This is interesting to me, that small, foreign-run schools can be successful and do what they need to do in a market that seems biased against them. I would like to work for a foreign-run school that places more emphasis on actual learning, but I have no experience or teaching qualifications and I speak only halting Mandarin. Plus, I only want to sign a one-year contract since I plan on applying to law school back in the states. I want to go to improve my Chinese, and I doubt I’d stay in Taiwan for a really long time (although who knows…)

Hence why I’m not too worried about risks of working before I get my ARC, or the risks of working in a kindy.

I also have a rather stupid question that I can’t seem to find the answer to in a search. When does the fall term start at most buxibans? I noticed someone on here got their first job in late August, although that doesn’t seem to be the norm. I am curious because it would be most convenient for me to go in late August/early September.

The reason that jobs are hot in the summer and before/right after Chinese new year and NOT during September is that most folks want to be in Taiwan for 183 days so that they don’t pay 20% income in taxes.

[quote="R You could also get hit by a scooter. About the same odds, I think.

Hahahaha NOT.