Side job


HI everyone,

I would like to ask what your experience is with part-time/side-jobs along with a full-time one. After several months of having a full-time job (as per contract) and the ARC/work permit, it turns out that my language teaching job does not have enough hours per month for me to earn enough. The job is great and I want to keep it, but a side-employment might be useful here. My boss is a nice lady but I do not feel like discussing the topic with her openly before having some more infos, as she, of course, has an interest that I’m available most of the time. I know you are legally entitled to have a part-time job as long as your main employer agrees. Then you would have to register with the immigration/labor department.

Unfortunately, my search has not given me a good answer, so I’ll try this way. So I would like to ask for your experience with or advice on this, especially regarding:

  1. Get a side job first, then inform employer, then register with authorities?
  2. I heard from others that part-time employers might be hesitating to register the job because it’s too much effort. Personally, I like to have things formally correct, but then again I am not too familiar with how things work here in Taiwan.
  3. As for online jobs (with the company being in another country), would I have to register those in any way?

Thanks for sharing your ideas. Any help is welcome.

Best wishes, Ferris


You have a normal work permit and work in a buxiban, right?

Your employer needs to give you at least 14 hours per week. You need a permit for any additional job. Online work is something you probably can’t get a permit for. Any additional buxiban job needs to have at least 6 hours per week, and you can’t exceed 32 hours per week with all the buxiban jobs put together.

You always need a work permit before starting a job, not after.


Just to pile on to this: It’s a little known fact that you can have multiple work permits issued. But it’s a well-known assumption that you’ll most likely be working illegally at some point in the application process. And it should go without thinking that you want to keep your work permits as far apart from each other as humanly possible; in other words, never let the right hand know what the left hand is doing.

Ferris, I’m going to keep this as simple as possible.

Get a side job. The rest will take care of itself, i.e. your secondary employer is on the hook for the work permit. Do your best NOT to involve current employer. It may be inevitable at some point, but just keep it to yourself for now. Besides, if you’re not making any dough, your current laoban has to be aware of that. One would hope…

You heard correctly, although they might not tell you to your face. It is a pain in the ass for some of these people. Anything that involves a bit of effort and (perhaps more importantly) a paper trail back to the laoban is frowned upon. I don’t blame you for wanting to be above-board about everything, but the best Taiwan advice I ever received (and regretfully dismissed) was to “Stay off the radar”. I’ll spare you my APRC trials and tribulations.[quote=“Ferris88888888, post:1, topic:159909”]
As for online jobs (with the company being in another country), would I have to register those in any way?

You wouldn’t be obliged to register…unless it weighed so heavily on your conscience that you couldn’t sleep. I’m not going to suggest you do anything illegal or unethical, but the fact is, the whole work situation in Taiwan is a massive gray area. My best suggestion is basically my M.O. in Taiwan: Do what you want until somebody tells you to stop.

Many, many people on this board and in Taiwan in general are living if not entirely in a gray area of legality, then dipping their toes in the water every so often. For some, it’s unavoidable. Did you work while your ARC was being processed? Yes? OK, you’ve been in the gray area, too.

Online gigs are awesome because it’s completely between me, the client, and PayPal. Don’t ask, don’t tell. No harm, no foul.

Again, kudos for being straight-up, or at least wanting to be on the level. Sometimes it doesn’t help your cause here. Anyway, if I were you, I’d find the gig first, and then sort it out. There is absolutely no harm in looking for more money.


Working while your ARC is being processed is a gray area? :confused:

Working while your work permit is being processed is a black area. (No offense to people of color.)

We’ve been through the online work discussion before, and obviously not everyone agrees, but the naysayers like me use reasoning other than “that’s what everyone does”.

Once you have an open work permit or work permit exemption (such as through marriage), you can do almost anything.

If they create the “employment gold card”, this stupid situation should become less stupid, so more work will get done, without exposing (some) foreigners to the risk of deportation.

For now, I believe the Honorable Mr. Lucky actually is giving you advice that is incorrect, legally speaking.

Don’t take my word for it. If in doubt, ask a lawyer and/or the Ministry of Labor (


It’s easy to show that someone is teaching in a second buxiban.
It’s harder to prove that someone is teaching privates on the side. Illegal? Yes. Common? Definitely. But collect the money online using Paypal and who’s to know you’re not just an enormously helpful friend sitting there in McDonald’s?
It’s even more difficult to prove that someone is working online. Illegal? No one is really sure. Common? Definitely.

So…it depends on how much risk you can accept (or how much guilt you can stomach, depending on your particular psychological make-up).

The best policy in Taiwan is ALWAYS to be polite, unassuming and stay under the radar. That’s just common sense because I can’t think of a single area in which the law favors the foreigner, and many in which it’s not even fair to the foreigner. But that’s just how it is. You have to play the game. If you can manage to live without offending anyone, your chances of getting into trouble for small, er, irregularities are greatly reduced. But it all come down to how much risk is acceptable in your particular case (thinking about family, income level, commitment to stay in Taiwan versus somewhere else, investment in Chinese, future plans…etc.)

Personally, if I were in Taiwan (which I’m not) and I needed additional income, I would diversify from my “home buxiban” into something non-buxiban in nature, whatever that might end up being.


You’re right. It’s the work permit. ARC is not tied to employment. My misstatement.

Other than the ARC vs. work permit, which part is incorrect? Change “ARC” to “work permit” in the text and the answer may still be: Yes, I’ve been in the gray area. I kinda said from the outset I wouldn’t give illegal advice/suggestions. “Do what you want until somebody tells you to stop” has no legal or ethical basis until applied from an external source. And it’s agreed that because everybody else is doing it is awful advice, and I hope Ferris doesn’t read into that. As for how I operate my own affairs, what works for me isn’t going to work for Ferris. I basically said, “Find the gig first.” Pretty simple. Unless Ferris has a legal obligation to inform his current employer of his plans to find a new gig, he would be better off keeping it to himself until it’s necessary to disclose. If that’s incorrect, man, I haven’t lived in Taiwan all this time. I’ve been in Fantasyland.


The “gray area” part is incorrect, because it’s not gray, and saying it’s gray encourages people to go ahead and do it, which perpetuates the notion that it’s gray.

Art. 43 of the Employment Service Act makes work illegal for foreigners. That’s the starting point. Instances of work being legal are merely exceptions to Art. 43.

Here’s an example.

If you want I can show you the decision. I’m sure there are similar ones out there.

By all means, find the gig first. But if you need to break the law just to get the gig? I know what my choice would be.


There is one definite shade of gray however: you may work without the physical work permit in your hot little donnies so long as your employer calls Labor Affairs and they confirm that the work permit is approved and the physical copy is in the process of being issued and mailed out. I did this to start a job this month; the permit itself turned up on the afternoon of my second day in the job. To give an idea of the timeline: application was submitted on March 29, the permit was issued with a start date of April 10, the permit was physically issued on the 13th, I started work on the 17th and the permit was handed to me on the 18th. Your honor I put it to the court that gray areas do exist and we are legally allowed to state this fact and to act on it accordingly.


What was the first day of the period of validity listed on the permit?


Sorry I cocked that up…the period of validity started on the issue date i.e. April 13. April 10 is the expiry date 3 years down the line.

So issued on a Thursday and received on a Tuesday (but sent via a law office).


Oh, it looks like I read your post too fast. But anyway, validity began on Apr 13, and you started work on Apr 18. Nothing gray in that. :slight_smile:


Check your current contract to make sure it doesn’t prohibit working for another company.


Good idea, and then check with the labor department and/or a lawyer, because the clause may or may not be valid.

The law presumes an employee has the duty to be loyal to the employer, but there are limits to that.


As the child of a litigator, I don’t like jawboning with legal eagle types, but in my experience both in and out of the courtroom I’ve seen the gray area defined as a theoretical blind spot of uncertainty.

So, yeah, illegal to work without work permit in paw or use of above loophole.

Here’s the uncertainty part. If employers know it’s illegal to bring you on before the issue date, why do they consistently, and I mean on a fuckin’ daily basis, bring foreigners in to work when it’s clearly against the law? We don’t know. We can speculate. I have a pretty good idea why they do it viz-a-viz their calculations of odds and guanxi and whatnot. There are odds and risks. @ironlady put it perfectly: it depends on your stomach for risk. Similarly, why do foreigners agree to it? Can’t be sure.

There’s no way to argue against the documented cases, and there’s much to be said for staying on that clean side of the line. My old man used to say there are gray areas to every single law on the books. I know you’re right to say, “It’s illegal, period” but it doesn’t allow for any sort of uncertainty, of which it seems the whole work racket is based upon. I remember coming over on my visitor visa and the people at TECO said, “Remember, you can’t look for a job while you’re there” with a wink and a nod.


My stance on working online for a non-Taiwanese company or whoever is that while the keystrokes and mouse clicks are being performed in Taiwan, the work is outside of Taiwan. So it doesn’t count as working in Taiwan. Whatever helps you to sleep at nighttime.


The work is performed by you, and you are in Taiwan. The prosecution rests. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Not even to mention the legal implications on income tax.

Purely legal reasons aside, I think it’s interesting to see that few people here find moral fault with illegal work and the connected tax evasion / NHI premium evasion etc.

Sure, a lot of locals also under-report their income and save a few thousand NT$ in NHI premiums. But does that make it better?


So if somebody who works for a company overseas, travels a lot and takes their work with them wherever they go, they aren’t permitted to keep up with emails and assessment portfolios or whatever while in Taiwan on a 3 day stop over?
It’s another one of those legal gray areas.


Concerning non-remote work: I’m not judging anybody; I’m no saint myself. And I’m not calling anybody’s judgment into question. I have poor judgment myself. Some people, maybe a lot of people, also have better instincts than I do. My survival so far is probably due to the Grace of Whoever Is in Charge of These Things. Maybe I’m kind of like this guy:

On the subject of risk: risk to me (and this is not an original thought on my part), consists of (1) the likelihood of harm, and another element that I am sometimes slow to consider, (2) the gravity of the harm if it occurs.

Anyway, this links to a tl;dr-type post I wrote in 2011.


That hinges on the definition of work. Are you working when you’ve clocked out and get an email that your boss expects you to respond to before the next work day? It depends. It may be something work-related but not actually “work”.

If you’re a “visitor” de facto residing in Taiwan because you do your work in Taiwan, the fact that it’s online work doesn’t change your status. (If anyone can cite an official source contradicting this, please do.)

It is possible for a country to say you can do whatever you want as a “tourist” or “visitor” as long as you don’t have an effect on the labor market, i.e. if you’re a true digital nomad you’re okay. Will Taiwan ever do this? :tumble: