Work at a Buxiban (AMI English)

Hello fellow Forumosan’s,

I was told to come here to look for more information on buxibans. Has anyone heard of the “AMI English” buxiban chain, they apparently have four or five establishments. Can anyone tell me anything about this particular buxiban? Good or bad?

Reading several posts about buxibans here has led me to be a bit wary of buxibans, especially as some might be bad places to work at. I want to be sure before I make a decision.

Also, does a two-year contract sound normal to you guys?

Last, how much should one expect to be paid at a buxiban like this?

Thank you in advance!

I can either respond by letting you know there’s a ton of other discussions on buxibans already on this site or answer your questions. I’ll half do the latter.

You can get a job at a very good buxiban, or can be screwed over. I know someone who worked at a buxiban for six years, considered herself on great terms with her employer, only to arrive at the start of a new school year and be told to “go find something else” when the employer was no longer able to get her a work permit (school’s licensing issues).

There’s a “blacklist of schools” on here that you can check out for perspective on the worst of the worst, but that doesn’t mean all buxibans are bad. I will point out that buxibans typically exist to make money, so they will try to sell their product for the lowest possible price while taking in as much money for themselves as they can.

Never take a job for less than NT600/hr. That’s already very low, especially since 15 hours is the minimum for a work permit, and not all schools (again, depends) will give you more than that.

Read the contract very carefully. There’s a good chance it’ll be ignored by your employer anyway, but it should be legally binding. Haha, even in MOE schools don’t always care what the contract says. This means you need to be assertive and have enough cash on hand that you can get out if things go bad. They might not, but you don’t want to find yourself with 500NT, no paycheck, and living in an employer-provided space if they do.

Two years seems a bit long. I wouldn’t do more than one if you’re new to this whole thing.

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Thank you so much for taking your time to reply. Yeah, I’ve already checked the “blacklist of schools” but nothing on this particular buxiban.

I don’t have much to add, but have you checked other sites? Is there any way to contact current/former teachers there? Also, it might be a good idea to change the title of the thread to something like ‘AMI English buxibans’ to draw in anyone with experience there.

NO! Run! There are lots of other places to work.

2 year contracts are not normal. Or, you can tell them that if they want you to sign a 2 year contract, they have to pay you more.

They also are required to get health and labor insurance.

Don’t agree to do anY non paid work. My statement when I was asked to sign a contract with that bullshit was “when I’m not here you don’t pay me right? Well, when I’m here you pay me. My time is money.” They crossed it out and now I get paid for an extra 25 to 30 hours each year for non teaching work. That is a big chunk of money.

Be careful because the contract may also say something like “for non teaching hours you will be paid 50% less.” This can really screw you over because if for some reason they have to cut back on classes, they can still keep you on, but pay you a lot less.

Some cram schools are better than others. Much depends on who is running it. I was lucky but many aren’t. Also, you have to be on your toes when you go in for an interview and negotiate. These are Taiwanese business people you are dealing with. Their #1 goal is to make money. Everything else is secondary. They know that many westerners are not familiar with their “methods” so they will lie straight to your face, make you sign a contract with illegal clauses and then threaten you if you don’t abide by them. I don’t mean to scare, but you have to play the game. And, don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Go to different schools for interviews. Go just for the sake of getting some experience interviewing with them. When you go to a place you’re seriously considering, make sure to bring some business cards from other schools with you and then “accidentally” drop one or two on the floor for them to see. You can say something like, “Oops, I’ve got several more interviews coming up later. I’ve been sooo busy.” Play the game. Play hard to get. If they insist on you signing something soon, mention another school that you’re thinking about.

Believe me, they prepare for these meetings as well and have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves. They take work shops on how to handle foreigners. They know that most foreigners don’t know what is legal or illegal so they try and take advantage of them.

Don’t show up for a gunfight with a knife.


Don’t sign a contract if there are penalties for early breakage or they try to withhold salary as a deposit. It’s a scam, it’s illegal, and if you sign, you risk negating your rights under the law.


If it’s illegal, then it’s illegal. Just because you sign an illegal contract, that doesn’t mean you throw away your rights.


They get away with this illegal stuff because they try it on Newbies, who perhaps have not even acquired a work permit yet. The Cram school industry is full of immoral people , always has been and probably always will be.

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Thank you for your reply!

That’s exactly what I did. I made them two offers: they could either pay me what they wanted to pay me but for one year, or they could pay me higher for two years. They came back saying no to those. They seemed very strict about the two years. I’m surprised though because we met several times, I saw their interest and I was interested too, but ultimately it seemed they cared more about the two years.

I have my own NHI already so I don’t know about them getting more health insurance. I would understand the labor one though.

I asked to see a sample contract and the contract was full of clauses like I may have to attend a weekly non-paid meeting, unpaid training seminars on weekends, and some other unpaid meeting-like events.

There was a clause for early termination of agreement. According to it, they could retain NT$20,000 from the salary owed or they could demand retribution of the same amount.

There was this other clause that got my attention. It states:
During training period (generally not more than three months), the school will provide the teacher with training which will include lectures, observation, and practice teaching. The teacher will be paid 50% of the basic hourly wage for observation and practice teaching. Lectures will not be paid.
What do you guys take of this? If I understood it correctly, and if all the new teachers undergo this “training period”, they will basically be paying me half of what we agree for the first three months? I couldn’t know if this training period was something outside the agreed working hours or what, but it seemed fishy.
If it is illegal, how can I be sure about it? Couldn’t I just take the contract (if I sign one) to the labor agency and report it?

anytime you could ask to the labor agency whether that kind of clauses are legal.

It sounds like a total shithole and they’re setting you up to be screwed. Up to 3 months training? Bullshit. That’s just their S.O.P. And is one way they increase their income. Just walk away from them. Lesson learned. You can find a number of posts on this site and other places of people who signed these kind of contracts and then got screwed. There are tons of schools out there looking for teachers. Be picky and go on lots of interviews. I’ve only worked at one cram school for years now. I got lucky even though my boss is Taiwanese and is out to screw his employees. I avoided most of their b.s. by not accepting what they wanted from me. I was also lucky in that they were desperate and about a week away from the beginning of the semester.

As far as health insurance is concerned. Do you have a another job that provides you with it or are you here as a student? Or are you married to a local?

I’m a student so I have all my paperwork in order. The only thing they would have to deduct is the 6% tax, I’m assuming that includes the labor insurance?

They would not have to deal with any other paperwork.

Yes, I’ll try other places around here.

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By the way, thank you for your thorough reply, I appreciate it.

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When you accept a job offer, you may want/have to switch your health insurance so that your employer pays their fair share.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I get paid hourly. I walk in 10 minutes before my first class and walk out 10 minutes after my last class (4 days a week 16 hours). Some schools go for the salary thing and as a result, you might end up having to spend a lot of time doing nothing (wasting your time). If they offer you a salary, see how much it comes out to hourly. It might not worth it (in my opinion).

Never agree to pay any kind of deposit. That’s definitely illegal but is still done.

Once you get your first deposit, make sure it’s correct. Take pictures of your time card at the end of the month and double check everything. At the end of the year, make sure everything adds up as well. They love to skim here and there and make “mistakes” which will, inevitably, be blamed on the accountant, the accountant’s assistant etc etc.

One reason why you want to keep an eye on this is if you end up staying here for 5 years and have an ARC, you can qualify for an APRC. One catch is that (besides not being out of the country for more than 183 days per year during that time) you’ll have to be earning at least twice the minimum monthly income during your last year. Many cram schools try to under report income to the tax office as a way to save money. It saves them money but screws you over if you want to get the APRC.

Good luck!

labor insurance is not in theb6%. may be additional 2 %.

Wow even in that article there are various instances mentioning how employers might take advantage of an employee and not pay their share for NHI or labor insurance.

After reading many complaints in several posts in here and other places, how would anyone want to come to Taiwan to work in such conditions where employers would take advantage of you and/or do something illegal? I just can’t believe it yet.
Would make more sense to just do tutoring and not worrying about an employer messing you up.