Teaching while ARC is being processed - a boss's perspective

Hiring teachers while ARC is being processed - a buxiban owner’s perspective:

My wife and I bought a language school last September. Although the school had previously used illegal teachers before, we were determined to do things on the up and up - our first teacher was legal, but we knew we would have to get a new teacher for the next semester, as our legal teacher was going to be leaving the country. Two months before the end of the semester, we had a teacher lined up - a Forumosan and a great guy - we were very happy that we were able to bring him on board. On the last day of the previous teacher’s class, and after many training sessions our teacher-to-be sent me an e-mail stating that due to a change of heart, he would not be able to satisfy our scheduling requirements, leaving us without a teacher on the weekends, and not enough hours for a new teacher to get visa’d up. I told him that it had to be an all or nothing arrangement, and he understood, even graciously giving up his pay for the classes that he sat in on as part of his training.

This was a sensitive time for me as a school owner - it was our first tuition collection from the students, and I knew we would lose some due to the change in ownership, and I wanted to minimize those losses as much as possible. I was lucky to find another stellar Forumosan and started him on the classes right away, and put the ARC application process into motion. I wasn’t too worried about any repercussions, because of some good guanxi with the Foreign Affairs Police, but I was still uncomfortable with the situation. Everything is alright now, our teacher has his ARC in hand, nice and legal, but it would be nice if the gov’t could cut teachers a little slack in this regard.

If foreigners had open work rights the way Green Card holders in the US do, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem - work permits could be applied for independently of any job opportunities. However, as long as teachers are tied to one employer, the current system makes it almost impossible for both the teacher and the employer to be 100% legal all the time, no matter how good their intentions are.

It’s a commonly held misconception among North Americans that anyone can apply for and receive open work rights for the USA. Actually, a green card is not easily obtainable.

A work permit to do a specific job, which could not ordinarily be done by a local, is more easy - but subject to much the same constraints as we find here in TW. In fact, having been through the whole ‘legal resident’ drama in both countries, I would say that the authorities here are far more prepared to cut you a little slack.

I think that the only way that this would ever change is if there was enough pressure from the schools to rectify the situation.

Until possibly last year it was actually legal to start work prior to your work permit and ARC being processed. This was even stated in some regulations that I viewed back at that time. Provided that you could prove that you had submitted an application for a work permit then you were given a certain amount of time to secure your ARC before a second inspection was conducted. I know this from personal experience years ago.

This system was reasonable and fair, and could have helped encourage teachers to become legal.

It now appears that the CLA are no longer giving this grace period and teachers are indeed vulnerable to being deported if caught working prior to having an ARC in hand. It does not make any sense to treat teachers who are trying to do the right thing in the same way that you treat teachers who may have lived here for years and never obtained an ARC.

None of this makes any sense considering the fact that it is quite difficult to secure a resident visa from overseas and for the fact that the government pretty much encourages people to come here on visitors visas which can then be changed into resident visas in the country.

Does the government think that teachers are going to sit around for a month or so waiting for their ARC to arrive? Do they think that schools are going to be able to allow those teachers to sit around - paid or unpaid? It is apparent that the government has not put a lot of thought into what they are doing here.

Maoman I hope that you will voice your opposition to this to the appropriate people as a school owner.

Why should teachers get special treatment. Most, although i imagine not all, of foreignors working for non teaching Companies here have to go through the process you describe, and do it as a rule from their home countries, they face exactly the same problem.

IMHO a much fairer and more sensible option would be to allow the TECO’s in the applicable native english speaking countries to issue work visas for those that qualify, on the understanding that the employer is currently unknown and to give a period of time say max 60 days to obtain employment and file for an ARC, as the work permit side is already done, the ARC should be issued quite quickly. This might even have the side benefit of weeding out some the fake degree and non qualified teachers as i assume that the TECO’s would be more capable of checking the Degrees being presented.

Just my $0.02.

Loretta,
I think you’re mixing up work visas and Green Cards in the US. A Green Card, while it involves jumping through a few hoops (as what Taiwanese government card or permit does not? :smiley: ) basically sets a person free in the US with all the rights of US citizens except the right/obligation to vote and (if male) the obligation to serve in the armed forces if there’s a draft. It’s a sweet deal. No registering your residence with the police. No having to get each job cleared with them. No worries that if your employer fires you, you have seven days to Get Out. No having to prove only a foreigner could do you job (go ahead, try to do that in the States!)

Seems to me that a better arrangement would be to allow employers, on an individual basis, to submit a request for a teacher to work provisionally, until the ARC comes down (or doesn’t). If the application is denied, the teacher has to stop working. Until it does, I doubt it’s going to kill anyone to have that person teach. But I do feel it is the right of the ROC government to request that no foreigner work without a work permit IN HAND, even if it is difficult for employers.

[quote=“ironlady”]Loretta,
I think you’re mixing up work visas and Green Cards in the US. A Green Card, while it involves jumping through a few hoops (as what Taiwanese government card or permit does not? :smiley: ) basically sets a person free in the US with all the rights of US citizens except the right/obligation to vote and (if male) the obligation to serve in the armed forces if there’s a draft. It’s a sweet deal. No registering your residence with the police. No having to get each job cleared with them. No worries that if your employer fires you, you have seven days to Get Out. No having to prove only a foreigner could do you job (go ahead, try to do that in the States!)

Seems to me that a better arrangement would be to allow employers, on an individual basis, to submit a request for a teacher to work provisionally, until the ARC comes down (or doesn’t). If the application is denied, the teacher has to stop working. Until it does, I doubt it’s going to kill anyone to have that person teach. But I do feel it is the right of the ROC government to request that no foreigner work without a work permit IN HAND, even if it is difficult for employers.

Of course that creates yet another document with yet another NT$1,500 price tag, I suppose. :noway:
[/quote]

[quote=“ironlady”]Loretta,
I think you’re mixing up work visas and Green Cards in the US. A Green Card, while it involves jumping through a few hoops (as what Taiwanese government card or permit does not? :smiley: ) basically sets a person free in the US with all the rights of US citizens except the right/obligation to vote and (if male) the obligation to serve in the armed forces if there’s a draft. It’s a sweet deal. No registering your residence with the police. No having to get each job cleared with them. No worries that if your employer fires you, you have seven days to Get Out. No having to prove only a foreigner could do you job (go ahead, try to do that in the States!)[/quote]

I was commenting on the difference.

Foreigners do have open work rights here in the same way that they do in the USA. ie they go through a long and difficult process. Then they get treated similarly to the locals, in that they need household registration, etc. (Albeit not to the same extent as they would in the USA)

But he’s not hiring people who have obtained ther ‘green card’ equivalent.
He’s hiring people who don’t have open work rights, or any automatic rights at all. He’s hiring people who are not entitled to take jobs from the locals until they go through a process to demonstrate that they have something to offer that an employer needs and can’t find locally - economic migrants with no work rights. It’s no different from any other country. You don’t get open work rights in the USA at the drop of a hat, why should you get them here? Why compare a temporary resident with a permanent resident? They’re different things.

While we’re on the subject, an ARC doesn’t entitle anyone to work for Mao Enterprises. I have an ARC, but could get arrested for taking classes at their school. The teacher requires a work permit specifically for that job, and when it’s issued he/she is free to work there even if they’re still waiting for an ARC. Or, if they have an open work permit then they’re as free to work there as any green card holder would be in the USA. If you’re going to dicsuss this then these are all important differences.

For the record I still have my aufenthaltsurlaubnis, Australian working holiday visa, US social security card, NZ tax file number, and foreign expert’s certificate from the PRC. At one point I had three concurrent work permits here in TW. I am aware of how these things work.

Thank you.

[quote=“Loretta”]For the record I still have my aufenthaltsurlaubnis, Australian working holiday visa, US social security card, NZ tax file number, and foreign expert’s certificate from the PRC. At one point I had three concurrent work permits here in TW. I am aware of how these things work.

Thank you.[/quote]

Damn. I knew I should have married you (even if against your will!) while I was still in Taiwan!! :smiley:

The “foreign expert” thing sounds the best out of all of those. If I had ever worked in the PRC on that kind of visa, I’d definitely put it on my CV. :wink:

[quote=“Traveller”]Why should teachers get special treatment. Most, although i imagine not all, of foreignors working for non teaching Companies here have to go through the process you describe, and do it as a rule from their home countries, they face exactly the same problem.

IMHO a much fairer and more sensible option would be to allow the TECO’s in the applicable native English speaking countries to issue work visas for those that qualify, on the understanding that the employer is currently unknown and to give a period of time say max 60 days to obtain employment and file for an ARC, as the work permit side is already done, the ARC should be issued quite quickly. This might even have the side benefit of weeding out some the fake degree and non qualified teachers as i assume that the TECO’s would be more capable of checking the Degrees being presented.

Just my $0.02.[/quote]

I think this idea makes the most sense. It is similar to what other countries that receive western English teachers already do. You show your credential and transcripts at the embassy or economic mission. They then verify your credentials and issue a work permit and the appropriate class of visa, all before the teacher leaves his/her home country. IMO, this is what Taiwan ought to be doing.

Can you imagine the staff at the various TECOs with…actual responsibilities like this??! :astonished:

Or the Hong Kong visa office? :help:

[quote=“ironlady”]Can you imagine the staff at the various TECOs with…actual responsibilities like this??! :astonished:

Or the Hong Kong visa office? :help:[/quote]

Frankly, who cares? The Teco office in my home town is hardly a bustling place. Hong Kong? They’d see a decrease in traffic as teachers would be getting their permits in their home countries and wouldn’t be doing visa trips anywhere near as often.

That a change like this might mean a little more workload for teco staff isn’t a reason not to impliment a system that makes sense.

I heard a while back, and never bothered checking to see if it was true, that Shanghai had introduced some sort of open work permit scheme to encourage foreigners to show up in search of work. I think it worked a bit like the working holiday visas in some other countries, ie a degree and some cash in the bank was enough.

Given an export-driven economy, why not encourage entrepeneurial types to come and set up shop?

[quote=“Loretta”]I heard a while back, and never bothered checking to see if it was true, that Shanghai had introduced some sort of open work permit scheme to encourage foreigners to show up in search of work. I think it worked a bit like the working holiday visas in some other countries, ie a degree and some cash in the bank was enough.

Given an export-driven economy, why not encourage entrepeneurial types to come and set up shop?[/quote]

Bit odd really as you can get a multiple entry business visa for China and do pretty much as you like. Hardly worth the hassle of getting a work visa unless you’re with a big company that insists on it.

It seems to me that what Traveller and Toasty are suggesting is the best solution that I have seen to this problem. Let’s hope that someone ios paying attention.

But a mutliple Entry business visa (F visa) does not give the right to earn an income within China. It is, by it’s very name, a visa for people doing business in China, but who are employed and paid wages back home. If you are working in China and earning a wage there then you still need to secure a work permit and resident visa through your employers sponsorship pretty much like here in Taiwan.

Maybe I am off-topic but I might be satisfied if they would simplify the process and decide on some set of regulations and stick with for more than a year. It seems the longer I stay here the harder it gets (to stay) - the rules change every bloody time I walk into the foreign police office. But then if they did that Mr. Lee at the foreign police and I wouldn’t have anything to laugh about whenever I drop in for a visit.

Jeez, I read it as Teaching with ARC While Being Possessed - a boss’s perspective
I thought it was like Nancy Drew and the Haunted Buxiban or some deal…

As you were…

German word of the day! I want one, too.