Teach without getting paid

I worked for seventeen days at a Public Elementary school, without a work permit, so it was illegal, now I realized it. The Labor Dept declined my application for the work permit and I was told to leave the school. They didn’t pay me at all. Can I do something to get my money?

I don’t know about you man but I’d just let it slide. Push it and what may happen? They decide to can your arse and deport you for working without a visa?

I really don’t care if they deport me, I’m going home in 10 days. Can I do something?

You obviously don’t have any legal options… but if it were me I’d just go hang out at the school and make a stink until I was paid. A foreigner lingering around demanding his salary is not good publicity for any school.

Thanks for the advice, I am really going to do that. What about the agency who recruited me and let me worked there?

You could talk the CLA, no? It’s illegal for you to have worked there, and they could get fined. You might want to drop that into the next converstaion you have with them.

I may be wrong, though, I’ve never been through this kind of situ.

[quote=“Buttercup”]You could talk the CLA, no? It’s illegal for you to have worked there, and they could get fined. You might want to drop that into the next converstaion you have with them.

I may be wrong, though, I’ve never been through this kind of situ.[/quote]It is illegal to hire someone illegally. NT$500,000 if I remember right, but I probably forgot the number of zeros.

Yes, but it’s also illegal to be illegally hired. I guess he needs to know if anything can happen to him.

I had a situation like this. (Only once in six years, and I have many jobs at any given time so the average is pretty good.)

You write a letter to the CLA, and they call the school. If the school doesn’t offer to pay you then you insist on a mediation. This will take time to arrange and if you’re leaving the country then you are shit out of luck. Don’t tell anyone.

Then the CLA gives you a notice telling you that you were working illegally. You reply “I thought I was working legally, and if I can’t work legally AND GET PAID then I don’t want to stay in Taiwan. But that fucker hired me illegally and if you want to take action against me then the fine for him is NT$150,000 for a first offence, jail for the second time.” No school principle wants that.

Forget about the agent. You worked in the school. The work was done there, and that’s where the police will be going. Unless of course you have a contract with the agent in writing, in which case you complain about both of them.

So now the school and agent have to sit down with you in the presence of a government officer who just wants everything to go away, and explain why they didn’t pay you for work done, and why they allowed you to work in their school for so long if they didn’t want you there.

Faced with this prospect, they’ll probably give you your money. You may like to contact them first, politely, and explain that you have consulted your friends and they have advised you that you can do this, but you would prefer not to. Explain politely that you don’t want to sue them, and you’re very happy to find that there is this free service provided by the government which allows you to settle this dispute sensibly. Ask them to come with you to the CLA to ask for an arbitration. When they know that you know what you can do they may decide they would rather save you the effort, but be prepared to bargain. You may not get everything.

There is an article about this on Tealit. Print it out, in Chinese and English. Show it to them.

EDIT: You talk to the school first, then you call the CLA. Then you write to the CLA. When you get your warning you respond that the fine for you is probably less than the amount owed, and you will pay it out of the money you get from the school. You’re still entitled to your money even if the job was illegal. Be very clear about that.

So the bottom line for the school is they can pay you your money or they can pay a fine, get some bad publicity, AND give you your money. Smile.

Thank you very much Loretta, very helpful indeed.

Let us know how it turns out. And don’t forget to be reasonable and polite. You don’t understand how anyone can let you work and not pay you, so you’re going to ask the nice man at the CLA to explain it.

Do you have any documents or anything that will prove that you really were working there? Though if you’re only here for a few more days, there won’t be time for an arbitration. Does the school know that you’re leaving or could you play a bluff and pretend to be here for the next year or so?

IMO, they stand to lose a lot more than you do if you’re found to have been working there illegally. If you get fined, they’ll get fined more and likely put on the record, and they wish to avoid that at all costs. As one poster pointed out, schools HATE negative publicity, and if it’s a boring day at the Apple News, there might be a story waiting to happen. Just the reporters outside the school grounds would likely spring them into action… parents might ask questions and face might be lost.

As Loretta said, let us know what you did and how it worked out; best wishes for a happy, compensated end.

What are the consequences if you get deported and haven’t got money for the flight out of Taiwan?

Furriner jail?

You may be ordered to leave the country. If so then you will be expected to buy yourself a ticket. If you haven’t got enough money to then you overstay and will probably be arrested and jailed until someone comes up with the money for you.

But as you don’t have a job you can’t expect to stay here for long anyway.

However, IMHO, nobody is going to deport you. You came here to take a job that you thought was legal. You’re a foreigner. How can you know the intricacies of Taiwanese law. Your employer is the expert in that department. Once you discovered that you couldn’t work here legally you refused to work. You tried to remain within the law and it’s highly unlikely that you will be penalised. Too much trouble for everyone concerned. It might happen though.

Are you here already on a resident visa through other circumstances? If not, how did you enter without a ticket to leave?

When still in South Africa, after a conference call (July 2008) with my agency and the public school, I signed a contract for one year. I then resigned from a good stable teaching position.

All my documents (teaching license, criminal record, etc.) and qualifications (4-year Higher Diploma, 3-year Professional Diploma) were authenticated in South Africa by Taiwan Liaison office. I’ve send my authenticated documents to the agency before signing the contract.

When I arrived in Taiwan (August 2008) I went with a representative from the agency to the school and signed the same contract with all party’s present.

I’ve start working 09/01/08, from 7.40am till 4pm everyday. I was the only foreign teacher at the school. Everything went very well. Wednesday evening 09/17/08 I received an email from my agency stating the Labor Dept. declined my work permit, and I must not go back to the school. They told me to be patient because the school wrote a letter to MOE and they will inform me about the outcome.

After three weeks of being patient I told my agency I need to work. I repeatedly asked them if the school don’t want to take me back, when they are going to compensate me for teaching during Sept. Again they told me to be patient. The agency sends me to another school to teach. At this school there are at least twelve foreign teachers. After talking to them I’ve realized I was working illegally. The second day I went to school and told them I am going because I am not prepared to work illegally.

Maybe ignorance on my side, I really didn’t know I was working illegally at all, that’s why by realizing it, I immediately discontinue working.

• I am on a 60 day visitors visa which I extend once (expires 11/14, my agency aware of this)
• The agency told me to buy a one-way ticket; the school will provide me with a ticket back home.
• According to my contract my salary is 71 300$ a month, they will reimburse my flight ticket and provide me a return ticket.
• The total cost of my “Taiwan trip” until today; 140 000$
• Flight back to South Africa 33 400$, which I don’t have.
• Total earnings in Taiwan; 0$, because I am to stubborn to worked illegally.

[quote]I am on a 60 day visitors visa which I extend once (expires 11/14, my agency aware of this)
The agency told me to buy a one-way ticket; the school will provide me with a ticket back home.[/quote]
I’m surprised the airline boarded you on a one-way ticket with only a visitor visa. Technically, a foreigner can only enter with a one-way ticket if they have a resident visa and ARC. This is fairly universal. I worked for an airline for 8 years and we would never board a person on a one-way ticket unless they had legal residence in the country. Otherwise, the passenger risks deportation and the airline gets heavily fined.

Sorry to hear about your dilemma. It sounds like you followed all the rules in good faith. Wonder why they turned down the work permit. Either way, if the school had any integrity, they should pay you for the hours you worked.

Something strange here because they should have applied while you were in South Africa and once the work permit arrived the school should have sent it to your agent in South Africa and you would have got a work visa or even an ARC from outside of Taiwan.

Your way means you would have had to go on a visa trip to Hong Kong or somewhere. Did your agent say this? Are you sure you have the right details about your visa especially as you only had a one way ticket. I think there is more to the story because everything should have been cleared with the CLA before you even set foot in Taiwan.

I think that is pretty unusual in the world of Taiwan TEFL.