Teaching at kindergartens legal or illegal?


I’ve been in Taiwan for 4.5 weeks. I am employed under a bushiban, but the owner also acts as an agent for me. I have been sent to kindergartens, jr.highschool and sr.highschool, as well as teach at her bushiban. My ARC application is in, my medical is done, we are waiting for my work visa to go through. Once I have this work visa under her, am I allowed to work legally in the various schools? One employee she has from S.A. was brought into the foreign office and told that she could be deported for working at kindergartens. What do you need to work at kindergartens? And if I am employed by a bushiban and am sponspred by one, am I able to work at other schools around the area? Please help, as it’s been hard to find the exact law on this, over the internet. It may be obvious to some people, but I have no idea.


Your work permit has the name and address of a business on it. To my knowledge, if you work anywhere other than at the address specified, its illegal.

As far as I know, kindergartens are not allowed to hire foreigners, so if you are working at one, that is also illegal.

I may be wrong on both counts, of course, but it sounds as if your boss is being very, er… creative, in her interpretation of local work permit regulations.

Be careful.


When I returned to Taiwan last spring, I was told that teachers can now work for other schools (other than the ones they receive their work permits from) if their school and the other school sign a contract. This info came directy from the guy at the foreign affairs office. He is a good friend of my boss, so I assume he wasn’t pulling our legs. He also said that yes, it is possible to work for kindergartens, again if your school and the kindie have a contract.

That said, and this being Taiwan, you should get your boss to confirm with the proper departments. I seem to be the only one who’s ever heard this news.


well, muchaman, you say that the foreign affairs guy was a good friend with your boss, that is exactly why he should LIE to you. If you think it is okay to work for these schools that your boss contracts you out to, than your boss benefits, makes more money from contracting you out legally or illegally. As long as he/she can have you thinking it is perfectly legal, there is no hinderance to his/her plan.

remember too, that some foreign affairs officers are not all good and clean. They get a cut from the people who need their help. I have been given this iformation first hand from the person, who “pays them off”. Be careful!


Well, I could believe that except for the fact that my “boss” is also one of my best friends in Taiwan. We worked together for six years. She never contracted me out to any schools or kindergartens, and I never asked her to. I had enough hours at her school, and a writing job on the side.

I appreciate the heads up but I’ve been in this country long enough to know the basics. I still think you should make some inquiries as it is in your (and not mine - I don’t teach anymore) best interests to make sure you are doing things legally.


According to the US Embassy (not called Embassy, but you get the idea, via their Labor Division) and the Foreign Works Rights Bureau of Taiwan:

-Illegal to work at any Kindergarden.
-Illegal to work at any other job than the one school indicated on your ARC.

www.tealit.com has some further facts and phone numbers to call if you want more info.

I only found out this was true when I finally confronted my boss, demanding that she call immigration with me to ensure that I am here working 100% legally (told one morning to “go hide at KFC till 1:00, we call you”).

When finally confronted them with this challenge, they confsed to me that the address on my ARC was not the address of the school where I work (dummy address trick). I was told though that if immigration raided I would be OK as they would “give you plenty time to hide again”.

Having said that, if this is how employers want to play the game, take advantage of it. Try to find a part time job that will pay only cash (save the 20% tax bracket) and try to get a higher $/hour rate. I know a lot of people who do this and make a great deal of money doing so.

Your choice, but that’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since I found out I was lied to by my boss and currently company.


PS: Give the Foreign Workers Right’s of Taiwan a call. Lots of friendly people eager to help.


Much of the above information needs to be clarified by the fact that under the newly revised Employment Services Act of January 21, 2002, any foreigner with an Article 51 work permit (categories 51.01.01, 51.01.02, 51.01.04, or 51.01.05) has work rights in the ROC that are equivalent to ROC citizens.

Hence, he/she can work in any bushiban, kindergarten, or any other establishment without any extra need for work permission.

I am 100% certain of the above facts. If anyone cares to tell you that this is not true, I can guarantee that that person has not updated their knowledge of “the procedures for foreigners to obtain work permission in the ROC” in light of the January 21st legal revisions.

In other words, they are still thinking in terms of the old legal structure.


How can I tell if my work permit is an Article 51 work permit? I have it in front of me but I can’t really read Chinese (I know maybe 30% of these characters, not counting numbers). Where on the permit is this information? I can point to that and have a friend explain it perhaps…

Thank you Mr. Hartzell, informative as always!


If it’s an Article 51, you’d know it, because that’s the one you have to apply for based on a certain number of years of residence and work in Taiwan, or being married to a Taiwanese national, or being a refugee…etc. It’s the new, so-called “open work permit” arrangement. If you’re in a normal bushiban kind of arrangement, it’s probably not an Article 51 (but of course no harm in checking). And if you’re eligible for Article 51 that could open your vistas for different kinds of work (unless, of course, you’re an ordinary garden-variety foreigner, not married or a refugee, in which case you have to apply to each business and they have to guarantee a minimum monthly salary for you in each case – but it could be done, I guess, if everyone wanted it badly enough.)

If you’re in a normal kind of bushiban situation, usually the “hide, hide, they’re published in the newspaper that there’ll be some raids tomorrow” mentality will probably rule. I guess you have to evaluate the risks for yourself and decide. I’m in that group of people who can’t ever get away with ANYTHING, so I don’t usually go too far on the illegal side with this kind of thing. But your mileage may vary. If you tell the boss that you don’t want to work illegally, he or she just might not quite understand the problem. After all, it’s not really much of a problem for them. You’re the one who stands to get deported. They would probably only be fined, if they didn’t have good enough connections. (I’m not an expert on this stuff, that’s just basically what I’ve heard over the years. Anybody who has better info should certainly chime in.)

Good luck.



galley gong …

The bottom line: Don’t believe anything anyone tells you in Taiwan. Always check the facts.

galley gong …

It’s not necessarily because your boss or friends are lying to you. Yes, indeed, many do lie to you about what is legal for their own benefit. However, many just mean well and tell you what they heard or what a friend they have in the governement said. And particularly true to Chinese culture, people often give you wrong direction because they don’t really know the answer, and thus don’t want to loose face, so they just send you off in some direction. This includes governement officials, policemen, tax office workers, pastors, friends, employers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. They just don’t know how to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know.” … Oh, how I’ve learned the hard way.

galley gong …

In my experience in Tawian, “advice” is almost always false and based on rummor, or simply based on the common law way people do things here, perfectly acceptable to your friend and boss, but more dangerous to you since you are a foreigner who can be disposed of without a second thought.

galley gong …

Be careful and always check your facts!