Just to add to the already rich amounts of information on health and insurance related issues, I would like to present my summary on the pros and cons of attaining a working holiday visa. The process is quite gruelling and although the requirements may not seem that daunting they do neglect the issues and costs involved in applying for the rightly coveted prize. These costs are not to be taken lightly, so far i’ve spent over AUD300 before even making my application. The costs are mostly related to the papers needed to process the medical insurance form and there are other difficulties. I’ve had more blood tests, eurethra swabs, stool samples and prostate checks than I ever hope to take again voluntarily. The majority of these, especially the TB chest x-rays are not covered by Medicare but are still negligible if youre not accustomed to free and subsidised health-care. The rule of thumb I now know very well is to add AUD20 to basically every costly document you recieve since to be doubly safe you need to have them authenticated by the TECO office vis-a-vis the Australian or NZ ministry of foreign affairs. So, the National Police Certificate (NSW=Formp800 if youre wondering) = AUD50 + AUD20 for validation. Diploma Transcripts AUD16 and over + AUD20 for validation and so the list goes on.
The prerequisites for this visa differ from the regular multiple-entry visa in two ways and they are 1)Bank statement showing the equivalent of NTD100,000 which is roughly equivalent to AUD3600 to AUD4000 just to be safe and of course depending on the exchange rate and 2)the Medical Insurance form which is quite involved (blood tests and x-rays aside, the form must be signed by 3 GP’s and then validated by the Health Ministry, believe that!)
From the info i gathered the W.H visa it basically allows you to travel and reside in Taiwan for a period of 180 days before extension and is valid for 12 months, much like a multiple-entry visa with a longer overall period of stay. The pros: Not needing to resort to a school or lengthy teaching contract to secure your stay (i.e. avoid the visa renewal problems which other nationals are suffering with), so to all appearances the W.H visa appears to be the surest bet to enjoying a relatively stress-free year abroad, not to mention the very broad medical insurance that comes with it. The Cons: Not being able to work for any single employer for more than 3 months as work is meant to be an incidental and not the primary purpose of travelling, work is meant only to subsidise your travel expenses and the same limit applies to any courses one may choose to undertake. This is a big snag for anyone looking to travel for a while before signing on for secure employment and all the benifits it entails.
For more information I recommend you go to the Bureau of Consular Affairs (teco.org.au/). Better yet, go in person and pray for a good customer service agent. Now the most essential question I put to Forumosians: IS IT WORTH IT? I don’t know. I really don’t. Judging by testimonials alone, I would guess that it’s about values - working 3 months at a beach resort better or worse than a year with a complete stranger. Where do we draw the line between the freedoms of mobility and financial security?